Iwi against Ihumātao occupation social media pages shut down

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The police cordon at Ihumātao, where the mana whenua peacefully sit in protest of the planned development. Image: Charlotte Muru-Lanning/PMC

By Charlotte Muru-Lanning in Auckland

Controversial social media pages belonging to the New Zealand iwi opposing the occupation at Ihumātao were shut down this morning.

The Twitter and Facebook pages named “Protecting Ihumātao” were set up by Te Kawerau a Maki, the Auckland iwi opposing the occupation lead by the SOUL group at Ihumātao.

The social media pages have been criticised for being misleading by looking too similar to SOUL’s social media pages which use the similar name “Protect Ihumātao”.

READ MORE: Ihumātao: Powerful powhiri welcomes state ministers to protest site

A spokesperson for Te Kawerau a Maki, Pita Turei, said that he was at the meeting where the “Protecting Ihumātao” social media campaign had been discussed.

He said that the similarity of the pages to SOUL’s social media was done on purpose and was a “tactical move” by the iwi authority.


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The pages which appeared online on Monday shared articles and quotes in support of the Fletcher Building development and the deal made between Fletcher and Te Kawerau a Maki.

Kelly Marie Francis, a spokesperson for SOUL said that it was obvious that the online pages had been made to look like SOUL’s social media.

She said that she believed that the pages were shut down because of the negative response.

“They would have been receiving too much flack for it,” she said.

Although the Facebook and Twitter pages for “Protecting Ihumātao” have been deleted, the website is still active. Te Kawerau a Maki has been criticised for paying for this website to sit above SOUL’s website in Google search results relating to Ihumātao.

Te Kawerau a Maki’s “Protecting Ihumātao” website shares a similar title with the SOUL campaign’s. Image: Screenshot Protecting Ihumātao
  • Charlotte Muru-Lanning is Ngāti Maniapoto and Waikato Tainui. She is based in Auckland, New Zealand. She has a BA in sociology and film and media studies and is currently completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Auckland University of Technology
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The Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology also collaborates with other Asia-Pacific media centres engaged in research and cultural production and develops cultural and research publications, building on the success of the peer-reviewed publication Pacific Journalism Review, media freedom project Pacific Media Watch and current affairs website Asia Pacific Report.

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