Waiheke Island Kennedy Point protesters warned police may be brought in if they don't leave

Protestors of a planned marina on Waiheke Island are being warned that if they don't move on, the police may move in.

Some locals, iwi, and environmental activists have been battling to stop the Kennedy Point Marina for years, including taking an appeal to the High Court.

There are concerns the development will damage marine ecosystems and environmental quality, destroy penguin habitats, and cause disruption to those living in the area.

However, the marina is still going ahead, with work expected to begin this week.

"[The protestors] will possibly frustrate things, and it will probably require the assistance of law enforcement," says Kitt Littlejohn, Kennedy Point Marina director.

Littlejohn adds he "wouldn't be comfortable" if protesters were arrested at the site, but says police are already there.

Developers of the controversial marina were forced to retreat on Monday as protestors defended penguins living in the area. 

Locals say there are about 30 nests for little blue penguins, or kororā, hidden deep in the rocks.

"At night this bay echoes with penguins. They have no right to do this," says protestor Suzie Newborn.

"These penguins, they're our children as well. They're in their own natural habitat, why can't we just leave them alone?" adds fellow protestor Maxine Klink.

Kororā, little blue penguin.
Kororā, little blue penguin. Photo credit: Getty Images

The project to build a 150 berth marina has resource consent, and Littlejohn says they want to protect penguins too.

"This is not removal of any burrows, it's about temporarily relocating the rocks and then reinstating them," he says.

The fight over the flightless bird is just firing up. 

"We want the penguins to not be disturbed and when they are for them to live through it," says Karla Allies, Ngāti Pāoa kaitiaki.

An effort to end the development has been ongoing since 2017. Currently, there's a last-ditch bid in the Supreme Court, which is an appeal of the first appeal of its resource consent. Despite that, this barge has moved in and work has begun. 

Work is on hold until both sides meet for a chat this week.