When consent to this marina was granted, our stories were excluded. If we are not heard now, developers benefit directly from the displacement of our people, the displacement of our mātauranga and further colonise our environment in the process. Auckland Council and the Crown have a relationship with us under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. They are in a partnership with Ngāti Pāoa as mana whenua. In fact, when our iwi had our treaty settlement at Wharekawa Marae earlier this year, the Crown explicitly recognised the many historical grievances that Ngāti Paoa have endured which have directly caused the fragmentation of our people. As Uri o Ngāti Paoa, we want this recognition to go beyond words by enabling us the right to be heard now that we have begun to regather and heal. The partnership we are in comes with the responsibility for Tiriti partners to recognise and respond to the dynamic contexts and history of different hapū and iwi in a way that is more than just a minimal box-checking consultation process. It is imperative that developers engage in a robust consultation process that enables wider representation from mana whenua. This way, mātauranga which is directly relevant to the consideration of resource consents can be heard.
A Rūnanga cannot speak for all voices of an iwi, for all hapū of that iwi, and for all people who whakapapa to that iwi. Active protection from Tiriti partners requires an inquiry into whether notification and “consultation” has reached those who are affected by a proposal. Through the Ngāti Paoa Iwi Trust, this did not occur. Auckland Council have acknowledged that the legal mandated entity for Ngāti Pāoa at the time (the Ngāti Pāoa Trust Board) and the people of Ngāti Pāoa were not consulted, but the Supreme Court determined that nevertheless, this does not need to be reheard by the environment court. We say that this does not come close to fulfilling Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations and the principle of Active Protection. We say that we need to be heard by the environment court in order for an active relationship and partnership that supports tino rangatiratanga to be upheld.
Our bay at Pūtiki is under threat from the construction of a 7.3 hectare marina by developers Kennedy Point Boatharbour Limited. Amongst the plans of this marina are 186 berths sized from 10 to 30 metres, two septic tanks for blackwater and greywater sunk into the seabed and Aotearoa New Zealand's first floating car park. Hundreds of steel piles could be drilled into the seabed of the moana here at Pūtiki Bay to float the concrete structures of the marina.
Tikapa Moana is an ancestral taonga for many hapū and iwi, including Ngāti Pāoa. Pūtiki bay is a wāhi taonga, a significant cultural landscape. The bay is the landing site of the ancestral Arawa and Tainui waka. After its great ocean crossing, Te Arawa waka named and journeyed through Tikapa Moana, finally coming into Pūtiki to be relashed. The day of relashing resulted in the awa, wetland, moana and nearby whenua being called ‘Te Rangihoua’ (The Day of Renewal). After exploring Tikapa further, the Arawa journeyed on to Maketu in the Bay of Plenty. Kahumatamomoe, (Son of Tamatekapua, Captain of the Arawa waka) and some of his whānau returned to Rangihoua to settle and named their pā site ‘Te Pūtiki o Kahumatamomoe’ (The Topknot of Kahumatamomoe). The whanga (bay) and moana, they named Pūtiki. More than 65 recognised archeological sites as well as other wāhi tapu surround this bay. Pūtiki Bay is a significant cultural landscape and a visual repository of our taonga, our whakapapa, our history.
Tikapa Moana as a whole is already under threat. In every successive Hauraki Gulf Forum ‘State of the Gulf’ report, Tikapa Moana is found to be suffering continual environmental degradation. The State of the Gulf 2017 report states that the marine environment is seriously depleted and contaminated by developments, such as marinas. Any marina here on Waiheke would continue this destruction of our moana. The State of Our Gulf report 2020 found that many things have been lost or degraded from Tikapa Moana, and it has been progressively reshaped by human activities, often irreversibly. We know this marina would desecrate the cultural landscape of Pūtiki in a way which will be hugely damaging, character changing and irrevocable for Tikapa Moana. It will impact the taonga species that call Tikapa Moana and Pūtiki bay their home, amongst which are kororā (little blue penguins), makō (sharks), aihe (dolphins) and parāoa (whales).
Our growing mātauranga of Pūtiki and connections with this bay are critical as a representation of our relationship as Ngāti Paoa, as Waiheke Islanders, and as people with nature and with our ocean at large. Now and for future generations, urgently encouraging and nurturing relationships of connection with the taiao (environment) are even more critical because this very moana is on the brink of ecological collapse. The proposed marina does not encourage a relationship of nurturing our natural environment, nor connecting with the mātauranga that carries life, culture and history. Instead, it furthers the monopolisation and privatisation of our cultural landscapes and environment. It is urgent that we actively protect and preserve our moana and restore its mauri which is under threat. Protect Pūtiki.