Plans for a controversial marina on Waiheke Island have been rejected by the Environment Court.
Consent for a 112-boat marina in Matiatia Bay, on the Western end of the island, has been sought by development company Waiheke Marinas Limited since early 2013, but was this week turned down.
Some members of the community have been highly opposed to the idea, forming a local lobby group and holding a concert to raise funds to fight it.
Concerns included the effect on the environment, traffic and Maori cultural values.
In rejecting the plan, the Environment Court said it had to deal with "a basket of highly complex issues".
"This case has divided, indeed even polarised, a sizeable portion of the population of Waiheke Island," it said.
Judge Laurie Newhook wrote allowing development would fail to protect the natural character of the area.
"We have found potential adverse effects on natural character to be considerably more than minor, and in the case of the breakwaters and deck, very high," he said.
The court had found the benefits of the marina would only provide small benefits to recreation and tourism and would mainly benefit a small number of berth holders.
In response to earlier criticism from the environment court in 2014, the developers reduced the scale of the marina down from 160 to 112 berths, brought in a visual redesign and a scaled back an intended car park.
The Environment court acknowledged the developers had made a significant effort at compromising, but said it was not convinced.
"In a way, that huge effort has ironically illustrated the difficulties of mitigating large structures on water and on or near the foreshore and ultimately the inappropriateness of the proposal," Judge Newhook said.