Protesters take fight to stop construction of Waiheke marina to Auckland Council's doorstep

Environmentalists demonstrating against a marina being built on Waiheke Island are taking their protest to the doorstep of Auckland Council on Friday.

Protect Pūtiki have been occupying the construction site of Kennedy Point Marina for more than 120 days.

They say the marina endangers a nearby colony of kororā (little blue penguin) and the council never should have granted resource consent for the project.

Protect Pūtiki spokesperson Emily Weiss says protesters want to show the council "how many of us are opposed to this, how many of our iwi, our Māori don't agree with the resource consent that Auckland Council granted, and need them to step in urgently".

"We've been engaging with them online, on social media, on email  - and now it's about bringing that presence to their doorstep," she told Newshub.

In a statement on Thursday, the group said the council needs to "right the wrong they have created".

The group has vowed to "occupy the bay indefinitely until it is protected".

"The bay is one of the ancestral landing sites of Te Arawa and Tainui waka, and many descendants of these waka who are involved in protecting Pūtiki are in court facing criminal convictions for 'wilfully trespassing' at the bay".

Earlier this month, footage was released showing a violent clash between protesters and security guards on the site, with a police investigation launched as a result of the incident.

Protesters take fight to stop construction of Waiheke marina to Auckland Council's doorstep
Photo credit: Newshub

The protest by Protect Pūtiki comes after the Ngati Paoa Trust Board returned to the Environment Court earlier this week to question the "developer's inadequate kororā management plan" and attempt to get a 'stop work' order imposed on the site.

"Ngati Paoa is seeking a construction 'stop work' order to protect the kororā from being exterminated by the actions of the developers around and in their natural habitat of Kennedy Point, " Danella Roebeck, co-chair of the Ngati Paoa Trust Board, said earlier this week.

Despite sharing a common goal with Protect Pūtiki, Roebeck criticised the group, saying it "has not contributed financially" towards ongoing legal costs in the fight against the marina.

"Ngāti Paoa as an iwi has a genuine desire to preserve the peaceful cultural sanctuary that Kennedy Point is, and it’s very sad that the developers and Protect Pūtiki see Kennedy Point as a financial opportunity for different reasons.

"The Ngati Paoa Trust Board does not condone the deceitful financial opportunity being exploited for self-interest while claiming to Protect Pūtiki," she said.

"For clarity, Protect Pūtiki has not contributed financially towards the legal costs of Ngati Paoa, and the use of social media to self promote and receive donations is totally unacceptable to the Trust Board.

"The Ngati Paoa occupation is a peaceful protest on the beach, and the generosity, meals, and support the community of Waiheke has given to our kaitiaki has been overwhelming and greatly appreciated."

Developers of the marina have rejected claims construction will endanger the kororā colony and defend their right to build the structure.