Date: 28/03/2016

Bid to stop a housing project next to the Otuataua Stonefields Reserve


About 300 people held hands in Mangere yesterday in a bid to stop a housing project on what an archaeologist described as "the paddock next to Stonehenge".

Fletcher Building has gained Special Housing Area status for a planned 480 homes on the 32ha site next to the Otuataua Stonefields Reserve near Auckland Airport.

Former Conservation Department regional heritage manager Dave Veart told protesters that the land was of international significance.

"About 100,000 years ago our deep, distant ancestors set off [from Africa] to colonise the world. They moved out and the last place on the planet they reached was Aotearoa, and one of the first places in Aotearoa that they reached was here."

The foundations of houses and gardens using the area's natural volcanic scoria dated back 700 years, to the earliest stage of Maori settlement, showing "incredibly intensive" agricultural land use over hundreds of years.The 100ha closest to the Manukau Harbour were bought by the old Manukau City Council in 1999 and have been protected as a heritage reserve since 2000, but Mr Veart said the plan always was to buy the adjoining land eventually.

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