We are the tangata rikiriki, hut-owners with small businesses at the Punanga Nui market, a market set up in the early 1990s for people just like us.
There is now a proposal to kick us out of our huts, on which some of us have spent upwards of $40,000, over the years, building and maintaining.
Problem is, we might own the huts above ground but they sit on land owned by the Crown (which was reclaimed from the sea).
CIIC, as the Crown’s agent, has decided it is going to demolish our huts in the back row of the market so they can put in a carpark. There is nothing wrong with these huts. They are the best-looking huts at the market.
The money that built the shell of the huts (floor and roof only) came from NZ Aid back in the 1990s. We bought them from the Crown and then we renovated them and turned them into the beautiful and complete structures that you see there today.
Not only is CIIC jeopardising the businesses of the tangata rikiriki, most of whom depend on these huts for their livelihood, and who have operated down here, some, for over 25 years, they are also wasting NZ Aid money.
How would the NZ taxpayer feel about this? What a waste of effort and money. And how cruel of a government to do this right after we have just come out of two years of pandemic lockdowns.
There is an offer to move the tenants further back, closer to the sea. Tourists are not going to walk that far to visit our shops and we’re now going to be put in the line of fire from cyclones, where the reef is situated just 5-10 metres away.
Why not put the carpark here and turn this useless bit of land into a carpark (and when not being used as such) as a cycle park? As little people, we’re not going to be able to afford to rebuild our businesses once a cyclone has swept through here and demolished the new buildings.
Give us a break for some intelligence.
At the present time our businesses are doing okay, especially now that the tourists are back. So, why oh why is CIIC kicking us out?
What the government (or its agents are doing) is morally wrong. The aim for the market used to be to give the “little people” an affordable place to set up a tourism-oriented business (mainly arts and crafts). Tourists love the market and always make a point to call in when they are visiting.
Sure, the government is offering to build other huts at Taua Terevete, which is nearer to the ocean, but they are deliberately putting us in harm’s way. All for a carpark. We don’t want to move, thank you very much.