Wellington Scoop

Differences of opinion at hui about Shelly Bay development

Report from RNZ by Rachel Thomas
A hui about the controversial housing development at Wellington’s Shelly Bay has so far failed to win over iwi members who oppose the plan.

Last night developer Ian Cassels of the Wellington Company and the Port Nicholson Settlement Block Trust invited the community to say what they would like to see in the seaside project.

Ian Cassels said he wanted locals to have a say on what it should look like and he hoped the hui will be a game changer.

“There’s heaps of things up there, because we really do want to see what people think and we want to see whether or not we can respond positively because there’s some things we can do. We want this to be the right development for Wellington. It’d be pride of place on the peninsula really, it’ll be treasurable.”

A group called Mau Whenua are now taking legal action against their own iwi’s Trust, arguing it sold the land at Shelly Bay against the people’s wishes. In 2016, the Port Nicholson Settlement Block Trust sold the land to the Wellington Company. The development was issued with a resource consent in April 2017, but that was quashed in December 2018 following an appeal lodged by the business group Enterprise Miramar. When a new resource consent application was filed from the developers, the Wellington City Council decided to outsource the decision-making to independent commissioners who again granted the consent.

About two dozen people who showed up yesterday for the start of the three-week hui got chocolate biscuits, fruit juice and goodie bags.

The meeting room was lined with drawings of what the seaside project would look like and information on transport options like a ferry and electric vehicles. A suggestion board offered attendees a chance to share what they thought of the plans.

The efforts appeared not to have convinced Mau Whenua, who were there wearing T-shirts reading “I voted No to Shelly Bay” and “Not one more Acre”.

One of the most outspoken was Catherine Love, who used the suggestion board as an opportunity to “suggest” to developers that land should be returned to iwi.

“This is all a bit of window dressing, a so-called consultation. Cassels’ purchase of our land here, he’s done it in bad faith and we’re waiting to see him in court. We are going to continue to walk on here as the owners of our land.”

Siobhan Lynch, who is affiliated with Mau Whenua and the Taranaki Whanui, said she would accept a development – but only if it was fantastic.

“If they’re gonna do it, they’ve gotta do it well. Not good enough, they’ve got to do something better, it’s got to have the x-factor otherwise it’s just gonna be another development in a beautiful area. We need to have it so it’s iconic.”

Port Nicholson Trust member Kara Puketapu-Dentice said while the Trust backed the project, iwi voices needed to be heard. He said the hui was a ‘reset’ and hoped it would help build support for the development.

“We’re open to opening the door and keeping the dialogue going and having continued conversations and hopefully this reset as we call it provides that opportunity. I think within all tribal structures you’re always gonna have differences of opinion and it’s just about how we navigate our way through together.”

The hui is to continue until 15 February.


  1. Ben, 29. January 2020, 9:25

    Where are the councillors who opposed the development before the election? Where are they, representing the community? How does WgtnCC feel about a private developer organising a consultation? Isn’t it your prerogative? [via twitter]

  2. Mark Shanks, 29. January 2020, 15:13

    Agree with Ben. How can this consultation be genuine when it’s been organised by the company that reaps the profit and the group that usurped the rights of its members? In any case consultation is not consent and is generally used as a tick box exercise after the decision has been made. I support the actions taken by Mau Whenua and would contribute to their legal fund.

  3. Ria, 29. January 2020, 18:42

    This isn’t consultation. It’s marketing.
    Where are you Andy?