Across the nation, many New Zealanders now appreciate the contested land at Ihumātao is special and deserves heritage protection.

New Zealand's heritage laws should have protected it and the stories it has to tell. So, from a heritage perspective, how did we get here?

SOUL's last chance to stop the housing development at Ihumātao through heritage avenues was an appeal to the Environment Court in mid-2018. The appeal aimed to invalidate the Archaeological Authority that permitted the development to proceed but failed. This outcome was unsurprising.

The cumulative effects of all these changes meant there was no effective legislative framework to protect the contested land at Ihumātao.

The framework for deciding if heritage places, and particularly Māori heritage places, should