Controversy continues at historic Waiheke site
Mon, 01 Oct 2012 6:01p.m.
By Tom McCrae
Protesters against the development of an historic site clashed with police and security staff on Waiheke Island this morning.
Auckland Council gave the nephew of Sir Keith Holyoake consent to build almost on the water’s edge, and at least six people were arrested as they tried to stop a barge carrying two buildings from unloading on Wharetana Bay.
The consent allows the development of the land 40m from the shore, but protestors say the rental accommodation will be closer than that. They are angry at the council for a lack of public consultation.
“We want people to come here, says Wharetana Bay resident Nikki Green. “We're not against development, that's not it at all, but we're definitely against things like houses in the 40 metre coastal protection yard. It's what it's supposed to do - offer protection, and it's just not happening.”
Protesters say the first they heard of the construction was when earthmoving work began in May.
“The big issue here is the lack of transparency in Auckland Council. It would be nice to have one set of rules that everyone abides by, but it doesn't seem that is the case,” says Ms Green.
The site is one of the most historic places on Waiheke, as well as the oldest homestead on the island. It's more than 170 years old and is also home to a Maori burial ground up on the head land.
“This should've been protected in its entirety as a landscape or historical precinct,” says Waiheke historian Paul Monin. “That would've prevented this monstrosity from coming ashore. Now we've got the intrusion of a wonderful historical landscape. Now we've got the intrusion of two inconsequential transient buildings.”
Work was halted in June after Maori artefacts were found, but restarted soon after. The land is owned by Scott Holyoake, nephew of the former Prime Minister.
Protesters say they are worried that if Mr Holyoake's development goes ahead other beaches and developers will follow.
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