Green co-leader Marama Davidson says her party won't be silent on Ihumātao and is putting pressure on the Prime Minister to intervene.

Speaking at the frontline of the protest in Māngere this afternoon, she said: "We are here to support you. Every day we are taking our voices to the hall of power.

"We are talking with the Prime Minister and with all the ministers of the Crown to say 'This is not right'.

"We will not be silent."


Davidson said Ihumātao was not a new fight or a new community. If it was not resolved then Māori could have their land "stolen" again, she said.

"The wounds of colonisation pit whanau against whanau."

"But I am clear that our indigenous aroha will survive our colonial pain."

She said the Greens were doing all they could but it will take more to change the Government's mind.

Speaking to media, Davidson stopped short of saying the Greens could drop their support for the coalition Government over Ihumātao.

"We will see how things go," she said, adding that her focus for now was talking to ministers about what could be done.

She would not say what the possible resolution could be or whether the Government should buy the land. The first step was getting ministers to stop ignoring the issue, she said.

Focus Live: Ihumātao media conference

The protest at Ihumātao is expected to grow further with the arrival of busloads of supporters from around the country.


Pania Newton, lead spokeswoman for Soul (Save Our Unique Landscape), said buses were arriving from Northland today, and supporters were also travelling from Wellington.

The police presence has also expanded - leading protestors to accuse them of heavy-handed tactics.

"It is another form of intimidation," Newton said. "It is causing a lot of anxiety."

Green MPs Marama Davidson, Jan Logie, Golriz Ghahraman and Chlöe Swarbrick arrived at the historical site in Māngere, South Auckland, this morning.

Newton said she wanted the Greens to convince Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to change her mind.

"[Ardern] has the power to reverse the decision to have a Special Housing Area and to intervene to prevent this confrontation and purchase the land back and return it to mana whenua so we may be able to hold it in trust for all New Zealanders to enjoy as a historic reserve."


She urged Ardern should visit the site.

"There's a certain wairua, an essence, when you come into Ihumātao and I encourage her to come ... and feel that essence and change her mind."

The Greens have been very supportive of the movement and made their presence known at a hīkoi to Parliament earlier this week.

Ghahraman posted about the party's support of what those were fighting for at Ihumātao on Twitter: "We stand with the mana whenua of Ihumātao. The hīkoi to Parliament...reflects the spirit of justice rising in Aotearoa.

"That we still have to rise against colonial land confiscation is heartbreaking. Still, as long as the fight is necessary, we will rise. #ProtectIhumātao.''



It also follows an Auckland Council meeting held yesterday afternoon to discuss the land dispute.

Some councillors say they regret signing off on Ihumātao land being used for housing.

Councillors discussed the ongoing stand-off between protesters and the police at the historical reserve at the extraordinary meeting.

They voted unanimously in favour of organising an urgent meeting between interested parties as a last-ditch effort to resolve the dispute.

But supporters say they will remain skeptical until they see what is on the table.

The vote came as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated the Government's position that it would not get involved.

Head to head: Police and supporters stand face to face at Ihumātao. Photo / Khalia Strong
Head to head: Police and supporters stand face to face at Ihumātao. Photo / Khalia Strong

Ihumātao's history is long and complicated and Auckland's governing body is interwoven with its most recent chapters.

It started when Auckland Council tried to make the land an open, public space.

In 2012, this move was successfully challenged in the Environment Court and the council was directed to rezone the land, meaning it could be developed for business or residential purposes in future.

The council could not challenge this decision.

Two years later, the Government and the council allocated a piece of land next to the Ōtuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve as a Special Housing Area.

Councillor Wayne Walker said that piece of legislation was a mistake.


"The special housing legislation that went to this was a mistake and arguably the council should've been stronger in opposing it."

In 2015, the council voted against a motion to revoke the Special Housing Area - 12 to five.

Pania Newton and others opposing the development were there four years ago as councillors cast their votes and presented a petition, saying the rural land needed to be protected due to its cultural and environmental significance.

Police and protectors of Ihumātao stand face to face. Photo / Khalia Strong
Police and protectors of Ihumātao stand face to face. Photo / Khalia Strong

Councillor John Watson remembered that day well.

"They came in here in record numbers back in 2015, they absolutely packed this place out, the biggest crowd you've ever seen in here. They were in chamber, outside and downstairs.

"It should've been apparent at that point that this matters to the people out there and that it's not going to go away."


In March this year SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape) and its supporters took a petition to Parliament demanding government intervention to prevent a confrontation on the land.

The following month a hīkoi, ending in Auckland's Aotea Square, saw a 20,000-signature petition delivered to Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, calling for local council and government to protect the land.

Watson said the council was optimistic in thinking the dispute would just disappear.

"What became very apparent to me as an outsider, is attitudes are hardening and what's happened over the last few days has just ramped it all up again now."

Protesters have now been in a stand-off with the police at Ihumātao for four days.

As the protest continues, the police have reiterated that their role is to uphold the law and allow people to go about their lawful business, while also respecting the public's right to protest.


They said they were pleased with the behaviour of protesters yesterday and had been talking to organisers throughout the day.

Councillor Fa'anana Efeso Collins has visited the blockade and described the police response as over the -top.

A child is spotted at Ihumātao as the Tino Rangatiratanga flag waves on. Photo / Khalia Strong
A child is spotted at Ihumātao as the Tino Rangatiratanga flag waves on. Photo / Khalia Strong

"It feels like our over-stretched police force are being used as almost a private security firm for a group of foreign investors. This does not have a place in my ward."

Goff said yesterday there was nothing more the council could do, but councillor Cathy Casey today asked him to facilitate a meeting between iwi, the council, the Crown and other interested parties at Ihumātao.

"I think that is all we can do, but we have to do something. So to say, well, we tried before and so-and-so said no, I think we need to say this situation is grave and it's on our watch."

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the facilitated meeting.


Goff touched on the fact that he had tried to solve this dispute before, but said he was willing to make a further effort to find a way around it.

"You can never try hard enough to avoid confrontation that will leave scars and to try to find common ground. I'm willing to make that further effort to approach, yet again, and say is there a way around this?"

At the meeting yesterday, a small number of supporters sat through proceedings at the Auckland Town Hall.

After the meeting, Jacqueline Paul said how it all worked needed to be carefully considered.

"I am still very skeptical around what that looks like and whether there will be any, I guess, outcomes focus out of that.

"At the same time, it will be interesting to see how they get all of these people in the room."


Goff said it was now a matter of contacting any interested parties to determine if and when a meeting could take place.

Ardern said although everyone wanted to see a resolution over a bitter dispute at Ihumātao, the Government would not get involved.

"This is something obviously everyone wants to see resolution around, no one wants to see the kinds of disruption and outpouring of emotion [we have seen].

"Everyone wants a resolution but ultimately it will have to come from mana whenua."

Ardern refused to comment on how long police would stay at Ihumātao.

She said that was an operational matter.


Additional reporting: RNZ