Thousands converged on the disputed lands of Ihumātao on Saturday to support a kaupapa that has proven a lightning rod for a national discussion on Māori land rights.
Many called it this generation's Bastion Point, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did her best Friday evening to quash that, announcing a halt to the Fletcher development while all interested parties worked together on a solution.
Michael Neilson was there.
On day five of the protest there was optimism in the air following the Government's announcement.
Pearl Pene came with her daughter, who brought a few of her Kelston Intermediate friends.
"We are here to awhi (support) the kaupapa. It is great to see everyone coming out."
Mana movement leader Hone Harawira arrives with Brian and Hannah Tamaki and about 100 Destiny Church supporters.
Hannah Tamaki said she was there "supporting the people on the ground".
Harawira said the Government's Māori ministers should step up to settle the dispute, and not be told what to do by Ardern.
Government Minister Peeni Henare, MP for Tāmaki Makaurau, and Minister Willie Jackson arrive to a roaring pōwhiri.
There was a tense feeling as Makaurau Marae representative Erueti Rakena delivered his whaikōrero to the manuhiri.
Speaking directly to Henare, he asked: "If this was your land, your mokopuna, how would you tell them you supported the loss of your land?"
Jackson spoke of the issues around determining mana whenua.
"We heard your wero, that is why we are here, why we have put a pause on the development."
He said their role would be to facilitate talks with all mana whenua "at the table".
The divisions saddened him but were the reality of the "Māori experience".
The cooks continue their work, transforming koha into bountiful feasts. Bands start to play and the crowds keep rolling in.
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said the Government finally coming around showed the "power of the people".
"It is testament to the protectors, the kaitiaki."
She did not want to pre empt how the talks would play out.
Save Our Unique Landscape leader Pania Newton, speaking on behalf of Makaurau Marae, said Ardern's announcement was "heartening" but that she needed to visit Ihumātao.
"People say this is the biggest revolution of our generation and biggest Māori issue of our time. She should be here.
"We will remain here and continue to fight and spread the word globally until an agreement over engagement is reached."
The major talks for the day have ended, and the attention shifted to the stage with Stan Walker, Ladi6, Troy Kingi, NRG Rising and others performing.
What is the future of this whenua? It is clear from all in attendance, this protest is not just about Ihumātao.
"When there is injustice regarding the land, we come together, no matter who or where it is," one man from Ngāpuhi told me.
The struggle at Ihumātao
• 1863-1869 – The lands at Ihumātao, near Auckland Airport, were confiscated in 1863 during the invasion of the Waikato, according to SOUL, acquired by the Crown in 1867 and sold to the Wallace family in 1869. Several different iwi and hapū occupied the land, but as it was private land it was excluded from Treaty settlements in the area. It is believed to be one of the first places Māori settled in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland).
• 2012 – Auckland Council attempts to make the land a public space, but is challenged in the Environment Court and directed to rezone the land for business or residential purposes.
• 2014 – In July the Government and Auckland Council designate 32ha next to the Ōtuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve Special Housing Area 62 (SHA62), allowing for fast-track development.
• 2015 – Pania Newton, one of the founders of Save Our Unique Landscape, along with cousins and locals from Makaurau Marae oppose the zoning.
• 2016 – The land is sold to Fletcher. By September members of the community begin occupying the contested land in protest. In December Fletcher is given consent for a housing development.
• 2017 – Campaigners take the plight to the United Nations, which recognised consultation and consent from Māori had not been adequately sought.
• 2018 – In November the Environment Court declines to overturn Fletcher's consent. Te Kawerau ā Maki chair and former chair of Makaurau Marae Te Warena Taua, who had previously challenged the development, tells the Herald he supports the 480-house development, which would return eight of the 32ha to iwi, and provide them with several dozen homes.
• 2019 – In February amid ongoing protests and occupation by SOUL Fletcher tells the Herald they would sell the Ihumātao section for the right offer. In March campaigners deliver a petition to Parliament demanding the Government intervene, and in April they take their case to Auckland Council.
• July 23 – An eviction notice is served to those occupying the land, and over the ensuing days thousands of people flock to Ihumātao in support. A debate erupts over who is mana whenua.
• July 26 – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces a halt to the development while the parties work to find a solution.
• July 27 – Government Ministers Peeni Henare and Willie Jackson visit Ihumātao, and say they will work with all mana whenua – including those with SOUL and Makaurau Marae – on finding a solution.