Event 'gloriously Waiheke'

GEORGE GARDNER
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2014
Pie Melon Bay
George Gardner

PICTURE PERFECT: The scene is set for 1500 people to arrive for the three-hour Let It Be concert at Pie Melon Bay.

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"This is not Woodstock! Keep your clothes on."

That's the message 1500 people got from concert co-organiser John Hawkesby as they descended on Pie Melon Bay in support of the campaign against a marina at Matiatia.

Twenty acts, including Frankie Stevens, Emma Paki and Britain's Got Talent saxophonist Julian Smith, gave up their time to be part of the three-hour Let It Be fundraiser at Bruce Plested's farm.

Mr Hawkesby says Saturday evening's event could not have gone better because of the attitude, behaviour and genuine affection from everyone there.

"The show itself was gloriously Waiheke and utterly loose around the edges.

"Tanya Batt was a highlight. She just reminded us of the importance of the visual."

Money is still being counted but Mr Hawkesby says at least $30,000 has been raised for Direction Matiatia.

The organisation is leading the campaign against the 160-berth marina at Matiatia proposed by Waiheke Marinas.

The initial resource consent application in 2011 attracted 257 submissions in favour, 57 against and six neutral.

But a revised application in 2013 drew 800 submissions - 253 for and 563 against.

Opposition grew when the Auckland Council hearings committee granted Waiheke Marinas a direct referral to the Environment Court, bypassing a council-held hearing.

The marina application is due to be heard in the Environment Court later this year and anyone wanting a say must lodge paperwork by January 22.

Direction Matiatia aims to raise the estimated $175,000 it will cost for expert opinion against the proposal.

Waiheke Marinas director Graham Guthrie says he is looking forward to seeing what the objectors' experts can produce.

"So far there hasn't been one single fact published by the opposition that contradicts our own figures in the application. Not one.

"We will have an unbiased judge who, as John Hawkesby says, will make a decision based on facts not emotion."

Mr Guthrie is also quashing rumours that only two of his original project seed funders are left.

"My original list of 250 people interested in having a marina berth hasn't changed. Roughly 40 people have paid a deposit. There were 26 original seed-funders, only one of whom has dropped out due to death, and a further 14 mini-seed funders.

"They are all Waiheke ratepayers."

Concert co-organiser Alan Smythe says there could be more fundraisers brewing.

"I was amazed by the number of people at Let It Be. Their spirit was overwhelming.

"I have a couple of other fundraising project ideas. I'd actually like to do one at Matiatia. Watch this space."

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