Shelly Bay

PHOTO: Shelly Bay development, Wellington: FILE

A Wellington iwi has declared it will illegally occupy land at Shelly Bay in Wellington.

It follows the approval of a controversial $500 million development by the Wellington City Council this month.

Developer Ian Cassels bought the land from Wellington iwi Taranaki Whānui, but a group within the iwi, Mau Whenua, are challenging that.

“Responding to the Wellington City Council’s vote and to Ian Cassels’ challenge, [Mau Whenua] are coming in today to occupy this whenua,” iwi member Anaru Mepham said.

Cassels owns most of the waterfront land, and the council has agreed to sell and lease him the last slice he needs for his 350 house development.

Despite two active court cases he is planning on starting work soon. So now it’s Ihumātao all over again.

“We’re doing it gently, so we don’t have facilities, as you can see, for large numbers of people,” Mepham said.

“We don’t feel that we’re under any threat at this point, however, if that threat was to eventuate we would respond accordingly.”

The group is promising to occupy the site until the High Court case in March to challenge the legality of who owns the land.

Wellington City Councillor Sean Rush is also voicing his support.



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