Protesters remain at Shelly Bay despite Wellington City Council saying it would close the public space where the land is being occupied from 6pm tonight.
Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said the council was considering its options on how the matter would play out.
Land at Shelly Bay has been occupied by Mau Whenua for a year. The group claims the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust went against the will of its people when it sold its land for development and that the deal was done in secret.
Mau Whenua has this afternoon issued a "red alert", which the group says means the developer is moving in and the whenua is under threat.
They have called on people to join them on the ground as a "force of peaceful resistance".
Meanwhile, Wellington City councillor Sean Rush has filed a Notice of Motion over the situation, supported by mayor Andy Foster.
Rush has sought to allow Mau Whenua to stay on their current site, but in a reduced area.
Last week Shelly Bay Ltd served the occupants with a notice to leave the site within seven days.
But on Monday the occupation remained, despite it being a week since the notice was issued.
Mau Whenua's message was clear: "We won't be going anywhere."
Now, the council has said it will be closing the public space at Shelly Bay because of health and safety risks, including imminent construction on the developer's adjoining land and asbestos risk on council land.
The council has received a new report from Fibresafe showing an increased level of asbestos contamination in recent soil samples around its buildings. Three levels exceed the current guidelines.
This is likely to spread further as the buildings continue to deteriorate, posing a health and safety risk for people staying in or visiting the area.
In a statement the council also said it has become aware in recent months that the closed buildings have been repeatedly accessed and interfered with.
"We have taken all practicable measures to ensure further access is prohibited including resecuring the buildings, putting up warning signs and reminding occupiers of the safety risks associated with the buildings."
The council said the interference with the buildings has increased the risks associated with asbestos contamination and contributed to its decision to close the area.
Shelly Bay Rd will remain open.
The Fibresafe report was shared with Mau Whenua on Friday and the council met the group yesterday to get their feedback on the proposal to close the site.
In acknowledgement of the protesters' rights under the Bill of Rights Act, the council has asked that they move to a new site at Shelly Bay.
Wellington City Council has offered a different site for the occupation at the southern end of Shelly Bay.
But Mau Whenua spokesman Wayne Makarini said that location was on one of the most exposed points of the bays.
He said the area was shingle and "completely unsuitable" for the likes of pitching tents.
Makarini said the council's notice was highly disappointing.
"The timeframes are unreasonable and there's a series of pretty unreasonable requests to go along with that.
"We don't understand the urgency. Fencing off a whole site, it's a big site, because they're claiming it's a health and safety issue to do with asbestos in the soil, the occupation's been going on for 12 months on the land and they've been quite happy until this point."
Makarini said Mau Whenua was doing its best to work alongside the council and mitigate concerns.
"If they were really concerned they could just put a fence one or two meters away from the buildings they believe are asbestos risks."
That is exactly what councillor Rush has proposed to do in his Notice of Motion.
He said the Fibresafe report did not tell councillors anything they didn't know already, being that rain runoff from a building has been transporting asbestos to the drainage areas around it.
"There is no safety issues for those protesting," Rush argued.
"I appreciate we had a range of positions on the Shelly Bay debate but I am concerned that the Council's recent move to close the occupied area to the public will result in physical removal of protesters where people will get hurt", he said to councillors in an email this evening.
As of 5pm councillors Rush, Sarah Free, Simon Woolf, Iona Pannett, Tamatha Paul, and Mayor Foster had signed the Notice of Motion.
Councillor Laurie Foon indicated she would also sign it when she was physically able to do so.
Mau Whenua posted the red alert notice on its Facebook page this afternoon.
"This Red Alert stand could last minutes, hours or potentially days so please be as prepared as possible and/or come for as long as you can with as many people as you can."
Reports this morning said motorists were being stopped about 8am by four or five occupiers who had coned off the road and were asking whether motorists were stopping at the occupation or continuing through.
By 9.30am a dozen Māori Wardens were at Shelly Bay after being called in.
A police car was also seen in the area.
A police spokesperson said police were aware of the notice and were engaging with the relevant parties.