Council asks protesting Wellington iwi to leave Shelly Bay

Kate Nicol-Williams
Source: 1News

Wellington City Council has asked protesters occupying contested land at Shelly Bay to leave because of health and safety risks by 6pm on Wednesday.

A road block set up by Mau Whenua on Wednesday afternoon.

A council spokesperson said while conversations with Mau Whenua, a collective of some Taranaki Whānui members, has been ongoing during their year-long occupation at the Wellington site, in the past 24 hours the council has told occupiers to leave because of the presence of asbestos in rundown buildings and in the soil.

He said testing was carried out in the past few months, with a report on the risks received in the last few weeks.

The decrepit buildings on the site are another risk the council has been monitoring, the spokesperson said.

The council has suggested to the occupiers they could move to a southern part of the land to continue their occupation as the risks aren’t present there.

Mau Whenua has called for supporters to come to the site on their Facebook page today.

"The developer and WCC with unreasonable notice is trying to evict us from the whenua…

"This is a callout to all our supporters across the rohe to come to Marukaikuru/Shelly Bay now and help us peacefully resist the destruction on our whenua so that it remains in the hands of the rightful iwi owners while legal and other avenues are explored," the post said.

Taranaki Whānui’s trust was established to manage the iwi’s treaty settlement from the Crown, Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, sold the main whenua to The Wellington Company in 2017.

Mau Whenua maintains iwi members did not consent to the sale from as early as 2015.

Wellington City Council sold and leased the final property necessary for The Wellington Company’s proposed half billion-dollar residential development to go ahead last November.