Police make 14 arrests at Pūtiki Bay, Waiheke Island, protesters appeal for reinforcements

Fourteen arrests have been made at Waiheke Island’s marina site, the latest this week allowing seabed pile driving work to continue after the violence earlier this month.

Inspector Gary Davey of Auckland Police released new information about events at Pūtiki Bay, Kennedy Point where the island’s first marina is being developed.

“Prior to Monday, 11 people have been charged and put before the court. Police are continuing to monitor the situation at Kennedy Point/Pūtiki Bay,” Davey said yesterday, referring to District Court appearances.

On Monday, three people were located inside the construction zone and were “dealt with” by police, he said.

“A 37-year-old woman and a 40-year-old woman will be appearing in court in relation to wilful trespass. A 41-year-old man was arrested and charged for breach of bail and will be appearing in court,” Davey said on Tuesday.

On July 15, police arrived in force at the site where a resource consent was granted in 2016 to allow the marina to be built along with a floating carpark.

Police said on July 15 they had arrested and removed three people trespassing on a pontoon inside the construction zone.

Protesters are still calling for more supporters, particularly swimmers and kayakers. Protect Pūtiki has issued a number of appeals for reinforcements.

“We are low in numbers so please come out to support!” the protesters said on social media yesterday.

The protesters say they are Uri o Ngāti Pāoa “currently occupying the beach at Pūtiki Bay [Kennedy Point] to protect our ancestral moana, Tikapa Moana, by stopping the proposed Kennedy Point Marina. Many Uri o Ngāti Pāoa descendants of our iwi have returned to Waiheke to occupy and have been here since March 9. We are committed to staying indefinitely”.

Security fences have gone up above the rock wall to stop protesters from getting to the construction site from the land.

A police patrol boat is near Heron Construction’s jump platform. That police presence is stopping protesters swimming or kayaking into the construction zone.

On July 15, Kennedy Point Boatharbour said: “The company is pleased that the police have responded today to the untenable situation that has developed on-site and supports their objective of ensuring that the site is made safe for all.

“The heightened police presence and activity on site today is clearly a direct consequence of the protesters’ illegal actions in recent days, which have included forcibly trespassing into an active construction zone and occupying pontoons installed for safety purposes, and then gaining access on to construction equipment within the construction zone and refusing to leave,” the company said.

Protect Pūtiki says it wants more people to get involved in the protest.

“Swimmers and frontliners needed urgently,” the group said in a social media post.

“There will be ongoing police presence and planned works this week so we need frontliners – confident swimmers and who can protect the moana and the kororā by continuing to stop works as well as those who can be present to film and hold space.”

The group says it now has more than 25,000 signatures on a petition demanding Auckland Council revoke the marina’s resource consent.

“We stand firmly for the protection of Pūtiki and all moana in Aotearoa to be respected in the protection of kaitiaki, accessible and able to be experienced by all. We stand firmly demanding the respect of indigenous connection to place, to water, and ask Auckland Council to recognise mana whenua and tangata whenua, and right this wrong,” the group says.

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