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A message from Pania Newton of Ihumaatao

The following is a letter from Pania Newton to the ActionStation community

For the past three years, along with members of my whānau and marae, I have been involved in the peaceful, positive and non-violent resistance to protect Ihumaatao.

From the beginning, our haapori’s (community) aspiration has been to return the land to what it was once used for, to sustain whaanau (extended family) and feed the growing population. We’ve grown many gardens at Ihumaatao, despite opposition from Auckland Council and Fletchers.

It has sustained us, motivated us, and kept us calm. Mahinga kai (garden, cultivation, food-gathering) has been a deliberate peaceful act of resistance against the desecration of the rare cultural heritage landscape at Ihumaatao. Even when the police tried to remove us, we refused to leave and just kept gardening.

One of the reasons we’ve been able to maintain our resistance at Ihumaatao is because of the support of ActionStation. On the day that police arrived to evict kaitiaki (guardians, land protectors) from the whenua (land), our friends at ActionStation called with an offer to set up a fundraiser to support us. I said, ‘Yes, please set one up. I will run it by the whaanau at our hui (gathering, meeting) tonight and if they are supportive we can launch’.

Over the following weeks and months, ActionStation helped us to raise vital funds that were used to fuel our peaceful resistance. They organised generators, gazebos, lighting, tarpaulins, braziers, firewood and travel for whaanau to spend time with us protecting the whenua.

A gif of various people and actions at Ihumaatao

100% of the pūtea (money) raised through the fundraising page have been gifted to Ihumaatao, or are being held for future needs of the whenua, such as legal costs. ActionStation have hosted two of our petitions, supported solidarity actions, and built new tools that make it easy for people to write letters and emails to Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson and Phil Goff to protect Ihumaatao.

We are grateful to everyone who has donated to our kaupapa and we are grateful to ActionStation for their support.

A photo of Pania in her garden

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui (Be strong, be brave, be steadfast),
Pania Newton

If you would like to understand the issues surrounding Ihumaatao in more detail, we recommend these:

A quick note from our team: Around Aotearoa and the world there is a small but committed group of people who donate to ActionStation every month. They are some of the unseen heroes in these stories who nurture our campaigns from the moment they spark into existence to the moment they win.
 

If you feel moved after reading about what we achieved together, please consider setting up a regular contribution. 

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