12 Apr 2021

Waiheke Island marina protest: Kororā penguin burrows at risk, protesters warn

3:32 pm on 12 April 2021

Protesters have taken to the water on kayaks to protect a breakwater wall where kororā (little blue penguins) are burrowing on Waiheke Island.

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About 30 people protested against the removal of some rocks where kororā (little blue penguins) are burrowing on Waiheke Island. Photo: AGAMI Photo Agency/123rf

Work on a planned marina at Kennedy Point was due to begin there today with the temporary removal of some rocks from the base of the wall.

Waiheke Local Board chair Cath Handley has asked Auckland Council to put a halt to any work at the site until all stakeholders agree on the penguins' welfare.

"The developer has been open to that until a meeting of all the specialist stakeholders come together, including the experts in the field of kororā."

She said there were 34 penguin burrows in the rockwall.

"Their habitat is really important to us and we're talking about the base of a rockwall here that they live in and, to my mind, that's rather like the foundations of my house and I'd like to make sure the house is undisturbed."

Handley, who visited the site today, said about 30 people were protesting peacefully, including many who are part of a group called Save Kennedy Point who have been occupying the land in opposition to the marina.

Helping You Help Animals (HUHA), an animal welfare group, was among protesters there.

Handley said some were kayaking and snorkelling around the bay to prevent the construction workers accessing the rockwall.

She said parties involved would meet on Wednesday to discuss the penguins' predicament.

Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick asked people in a tweet to go along to support the protesters at Kennedy Point.