About 80 people pitched up outside Auckland Council’s central city offices this morning calling for the development of a marina on Waiheke Island to be stopped.
Among the protesters were members of the Protect Pūtiki group who have been occupying the Kennedy Point Marina's planned site at Pūtiki Bay for more than four months to stop construction work.
Protesters today reiterated the marina would threaten the survival of a kōrora/little blue penguin colony as their natural habitat would be disturbed.
Protect Pūtiki said it invited Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta, and Conservation Minister Kiri Allan to meet with them today. None were at the protest.
The group’s spokesperson Emily Māia Weiss (Ngāti Pāoa) said they want Auckland Council to revoke the resource consent for the 181-berth, 7.3 hectare Kennedy Point Marina. Consent was granted in 2017 to developer Kennedy Point Boatharbour Limited (KPBL).
“We are calling for [Auckland Council] to step up and honour Te Tiriti … we’re here for the protection of our bay and our moana,” Weiss told 1 NEWS.
“We will swim, we will kayak, and we will stop works until Auckland Council or Nanaia Mahuta or Kiritapu Allan to seek a resolution with us.”
She said she was still waiting for a reply from Goff, Mahuta and Allan.
Construction of the marina was able to begin in March after four years of court battles. The Save Kennedy Point group and KPBL agreed to settle out of court, and the developer said it would revise its kororā plans to better protect them.
Despite what the court had ruled, “that doesn’t mean it’s right”, Weiss told the crowd today.
There was a very small police and Māori Warden presence outside Auckland Council today, a contrast to what the group called a heavy-handed police presence at the Waiheke Island construction site.
Three protesters were arrested and removed from the Kennedy Point marina construction site last week. Two other protesters have pleaded not guilty to trespassing at the Auckland District Court last month.
Police said the protesters were trespassing on a pontoon inside the marina construction zone. KPBL said it was pleased with the police response because it made the site safe for all.
The arrests came days after altercations with security personnel and construction staff at the site. Videos showed a protester being kicked in the face and a security guard being pushed headfirst into the sea.
Ngāti Pāoa are among multiple mana whenua groups that claim customary and historical interests on Waiheke Island.