Waiheke Island protest: Police arrive in large numbers at dock site

Protect Putiki shares live video coverage of police as they gather for Waiheke protesters at the marina site. Video / Putiki Protection حماية

The police moved en masse to Pūtiki Bay on Waiheke Island this morning, removing protesters’ tents and equipment on a pontoon and taking two people away in a boat.

“Send your Aroha to P aroundtiki,” one protester said, broadcasting the events live from the beach and estimating that about 50 officers were on site.

This is the 129th day of the protest at Kennedy Point in an effort to stop the construction of a 186-berth berth.

A protester has halted construction of the new marina since Saturday by climbing one of New Zealand’s largest sea-going boats.

A Kennedy Point Marina spokesperson said work has been halted over the past few days because one protester was on top of equipment at the site.

Heron Construction has won the contract to construct an 186-meter berth berth and has anchored in the bay its huge orange and yellow detachable barge Tuhura with an excavator on top.

A male protester occupies the Heron building site.  The attached photo
A male protester occupies the Heron building site. The attached photo

A Heron spokesman said Saturday that a protester entered the 18-meter, 9.9-meter steel hydraulic barge on Saturday and has been there ever since. The barge is a drilling rig that allows the stilts to be pushed to the sea floor for the new anchorage.

A spokesperson for Heron Constructions said today, “Protester Warren Mathiari is still on our boat. We can’t do anything until the protester leaves or is evicted.”

Emily Weiss went live last night, filming him on the barge and showing how a rope was attached to him so he could pick up the goods.

“Earlier this morning, a huge police presence arrived to take two Kaitiaki on the seventh day of our Moana occupation,” one protester said on Insta today.

This is the 129th day for Protect Pūtiki members who have been at the site, trying to get cabinet ministers and Auckland Council to take notice of their attempts to stop the construction of the marina with floating car park, storage, laundry and a café.

Some time ago, a protester stripped naked in an attempt to prevent construction workers from tying up cables, and videos show that altercation at Kennedy Point.

Protect Pūtiki wants Auckland Council and Cabinet Ministers to “authorize a process that will enable all affected parties to reach an outcome that all can live with”.

But Kitt Littlejohn of Kennedy Point Boatharbor says the company has valid supplier approval and should be allowed to move forward with building what is legally permissible.

Recently, the site witnessed confrontations between protesters, security guards and construction workers.

Recently, two Kennedy Point Marina workers and about five members of Protect Pūtiki had a confrontation with each other. A protester in a wet suit grabbed the head of a worker and two protesters filmed the exchanges.

Another protester in a yellow kayak splashed water on the workers’ faces with a paddle.

The two workers were standing in thigh-high water, tying a wire as a woman in a long red coat climbed over the rocks.

Protesters at the site on Friday.  Photo / Dean Purcell
Protesters at the site on Friday. Photo / Dean Purcell

That right-armed woman with a bandage takes off her two shirts, unzips and removes her skirt and bra, and pushes them back against the rocks.

Then I became naked.

She leans on the shoulders of the two workers to balance herself out of the rocks and into the water, pressing her body into the narrow gap between the two workers, embracing one of them semi and looking him in the face.

He turns away quickly while trying to continue working with the cable.

Then the naked woman turns her attention to the second factor. He takes off his hat and sunglasses. They are thrown into the water when the video ends abruptly.

The person who filmed the brawl said it showed the lengths anti-Marina protesters were going, after footage of violence emerged at Kennedy Point last week, with a protester and a guard being kicked in the face and head.

“The workers, both from Kennedy Point Boat Harbor, were trying to wire a cable together when a protester decided to strip,” said the person who provided today’s video.

Under Jaws of Iron: Protesters floating at a construction site.  Photo / Dean Purcell
Under Jaws of Iron: Protesters floating at a construction site. Photo / Dean Purcell

“I have other videos of a protester swimming to the barge topless, climbing onto the barge and when she was denied access to our barge. She is also stripped naked and can be seen pulling on our staff.

“Now when she saw one of the men who had prevented her from going around the barge, she was – while recording on her phone – screaming at the top of her voice.”There is the man who sexually assaulted mesaid the person.

“This was far from a peaceful protest as the rest of the country believes,” he said.

But Emily Weiss of Protect Ptiki says protesters have experienced violence at the site, particularly women.

Midwinter camp at the construction site pontoon.  Photo / Dean Purcell
Midwinter camp at the construction site pontoon. Photo / Dean Purcell

“We, Uri o Ngāti Pāoa, are currently occupying the beach at Pūtiki Bay (Kennedy Point), Waiheke Island. We are occupying to protect our Moana ancestors, Tikapa Moana, by stopping the proposed ‘Kennedy Point Marina.’ Many Uri o Ngāti Pāoa (descendants) returned Iwi) to Waiheke for the occupation and has been here since March 9. We are committed to staying indefinitely,” the group says.

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Demonstrator on equipment every day yesterday and today.  The attached photo
Demonstrator on equipment every day yesterday and today. The attached photo

Tracey Taylor, the owner of Bach Island, said the majority of the protesters are women and defended their actions at the site.

“They were physically assaulted by the marina’s contractors and security, these guys are intimidating and shown they will resort to violence. They tackled women on the rocks, drove their boats into and over the protesting swimmers in the water,” Taylor said today:

The footage he gave to the Herald [Kennedy Point Boatharbour director] Kitt Littlejohn shows a female protester fending off a male security guard who was using a kayak paddle, after being removed from a kayak, as a threatening weapon to intimidate protesters.

“This was an unarmed woman versus a man threatening her with a paddle,” Taylor said. “Can you imagine how frightened these women felt when they faced these men? She was fighting to get away from him and stop him from pursuing her.”

“What happened on the pontoon was the culmination of a series of aggressive actions by the security guards,” she said.

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