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To: Gisborne District Council

Save Kaiti Beach; PROTECT our History and Biodiversity

Aotearoa New Zealand we urgently need your help!

We are asking for YOUR help to SAVE KAITI BEACH!

Join us in calling for the Gisborne District Council to say NO more expansion at Eastland Port!

We must protect Kaiti Beach for future generations, so our tamariki children can have access to healthy ecosystems free from toxins, access to clean and safe areas for water activities and less noise pollution in the environment.

This is for the protection of precious taonga species, for the mana and mauri of the moana, this is for our future and the preservation of a significant historical site.

Together we ask the Gisborne District Council to protect this site and say NO to Eastland Port Twin Berth Project.

Why is this important?

Eastland Port is planning to carry out substantial construction work to expand their port in Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa Gisborne. This includes further reclamation of reef and ocean space near the river mouth and more dredging with disposal of materials to the off shore disposal ground located within the bay.(1)

These proposed works would create further loss of habitat for taonga species, fail to respect significant cultural values and will distort a precious historical site of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The species currently occupying this area are Kororā (little blue penguin), Toreā (oystercatcher), Taranui (caspian tern), Matuku Moana (white faced heron), Kāruhiruhi (pied shag), Kawaupaka (little shag), Tākapu (gannet), Karoro (black backed gull), Kōtare (kingfisher), Kekeno (fur seal), Whai (stingray), Kōura (crayfish), Kākahi (fresh water mussel), Pāpaka nui (purple rock crab), Kina (sea urchin), Manaia (seahorse) to name a few. Orca whales also feed from the reef with their young at certain times of the year.

Previous construction work by Eastland Port destroyed an estimated 35 to 70 kororā (little blue penguin) nests during the breeding season in 2021. The habitat was located within the rock wall where the port carried out demolition and reclamation.(2)

The consent granted to Eastland Port was a Limited notification which didn't allow for Public Submissions.

The site of the proposed works is described as nationally and internationally significant to our country. A natural reef formation used by ancestors of Māori as a landing point dating back many centuries ago. The landing entrance later saw an arrival of Europeans. Kaiti Beach represents a significant historical site used by both our Māori and Pākehā ancestors.

In the words of Dame Anne Salmond:

“The foreshore of the Tūranaganui River is one of the world’s great voyaging sites. It is the landing place of the Horouta canoe, celebrating the achievements of the Polynesian star navigators. It is the place where Captain James Cook and his companions first came ashore in New Zealand, heralding the traditions of European exploration and discovery.

It is the site where Tupaia, the Ra’iatean high priest navigator who sailed with Cook, first met Māori, marking the links between local people and their ancestral homelands. It is a meeting place of cultures, of challenges and shootings, as well as friendly exchanges. Here Captain Cook and a local man saluted each other with a hongi on Te Toka-a-Taiau, the first greeting between a Māori and a European.

It is a sacred site for all New Zealanders, to be celebrated with pride and treated with dignity."(3)

In the words of Sir Derek Lardelli:

Te Toka-a-Taiau, the rock of Taiau, Te Pito o Te Ao, is the core of our universe, a Tairawhiti perspective

Ko Te Toka-a-Taiau, Te herenga o ngā wai mai te hononga o ngā rua
Te Toka-a-Taiau is the spiritual gathering place of our ancestors

Ko Te Toka-a-Taiau, Te whakatinanatanga o te whakapapa
We are the kaitiaki guardians of this very sacred site and Te Toka-a-Taiau is the physical reminder of our commitment to the land, the people and our environment

Ko Te Toka-a-Taiau he mauri tipua
Te Toka-a-Taiau is the spiritual essence of our ancestors

Ko te Toka-a-Taiau he mauri tawhito
Te Toka-a-Taiau is a spiritual essence from ancient times

He mauri no te kukunetanga mai i Hawaiki
The spiritual essence from the origins of time and the spiritual homeland of Hawaiki

Mauritū nei hei ahurewa tapu
That stands as a sacred alter

Mauritū nei hei tūāhu tapu
That stands as the launching pad of our destiny"(3)

We believe all people of Aotearoa New Zealand would consider this a significant piece of history and we need to protect the area from further disruption and modification. We ask you to join us in saying “Enough!” to Eastland Port and Gisborne District Council.

Join us in calling for the protection of this natural environment, a life source, a habitat of taonga species, a significant piece of history connecting each of us to our identity. We must protect it for future generations so they can connect to their history.

This is our chance Aotearoa New Zealand, let's stand together, side by side to give this area the respect and dignity it deserves. Let it be your time in history to help shape this moment and move us all forward in an ethical direction to let the healing begin.

Thank you for your time and consideration in signing this petition. This petition will be used as evidence for public support to deny the consent application submitted by Eastland Port.


2. Recommendations for penguin management for the Waikahua seawall project at Eastland Port (December 2021). Dr. John Cockrem.
3. The Tūranganui River; A Brief History (October 2006). Michael Spedding.


Gisborne, New Zealand

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL



2022-10-25 17:54:57 +1300

100 signatures reached

2022-10-16 14:56:44 +1300

50 signatures reached

2022-10-15 07:46:59 +1300

25 signatures reached

2022-10-14 15:35:22 +1300

10 signatures reached

2022-10-14 00:20:44 +1300

Who are we and what has happened so far?

We are the Waikahua Kororā Kohanga Group, a diverse and multicultural group that has been influential in applying pressure to create change when consent was granted for the purpose of “protecting the port”, to reinforce the southern log yard seawall and “beautify” the area at Kaiti Beach in Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa Gisborne.

We have been standing side by side since October 2021 demanding community voices be heard and action taken. Local residents cited a number of kororā (blue penguins) displaced, exposed and vulnerable. Residents that have lived at Kaiti Beach for well over forty years had never before witnessed kororā in the area, until last year when modifications took place. We began to see a significant loss of kororā life.

2022-10-14 00:19:02 +1300

We have stood outside Gisborne District Council and Eastland Port with megaphone in hand telling them to “REPLACE THE BLOCKS WITH ROCKS”, and tamariki made signs just in case they didn’t hear, to advocate for the kororā, “GIVE OUR HOME BACK”. We had many meetings with all entities involved, including the Department of Conservation to try and make them all understand the importance of this taonga species (treasured national resource).

We explained what taonga meant and we raised concerns to the fact that Gisborne District Council had reported on the Resource consent that cultural values were considered as “minor”. We pleaded that they stop excavating the kororā habitat in the middle of nesting season. World renowned penguin expert Prof. John Cockrem was requested by local iwi to undertake a full report of the situation because there was insufficient reporting supplied by Eastland Port and the Department of Conservation during the Resource consent application.

2022-10-14 00:17:09 +1300

Prof. John Cockrem visited the area in November 2021 and reported on his observations an estimation of 35 to 70 kororā nests destroyed during breeding season due to construction work by Eastland Port. This is recorded as unprecedented for Aotearoa New Zealand. Prof. John Cockrem advised that the kororā are nesting, they are breeding, they are moulting and they require somewhere safe in order to carry out these procedures. Prof. John Cockrem provided Eastland Port with practical solutions that could have avoided further kororā loss. Eastland Port declined the report and expert advice of Prof. John Cockrem.

2022-10-14 00:15:40 +1300

Unfortunately there has been further loss of life for the kororā with the most recent in September 2022. The kororā habitat was literally destroyed overnight by construction work as there was no duty of care from the entities involved. Our tamariki have learnt kororā return back to where they hatch, or not far from the area where they are born, this is exactly why the kororā continue to turn up every night at Kaiti Beach, in search of their habitat. They are not visiting as per previous communications to the community from DOC and Eastland Port. There was no duty of care to the environment by all entities involved, yet both Eastland Port and DOC disclosed they knew kororā used the area.

2022-10-14 00:13:13 +1300

After concerns had been raised by the community, DOC then decided to place 2 artificial kororā nesting boxes at the site on top of 75cm high concrete blocks (the average kororā height is approximately 30cm). The wooden boxes were intended to be of service for replacement of their destroyed habitat. It is of utmost importance to note that nobody had considered the species within this environment, the kororā were failed due to no Penguin Management Plan in place. Through our groups constant calls for meetings, newspaper articles and rallying together, all in the name of love, a year on Eastland Port finally have a Penguin Management Plan and are in the process of creating an artificial habitat.

Prof. John Cockrem has shared the Māori worldview, a whakatauki (proverb) to be communicated across the world, “he kororā, he tohu oranga – the penguin is the sign of life”. The ecosystem depends on this species and we need to act now in order to Save Kaiti Beach.