Waiheke Island protesters in cuffs

GEORGE GARDNER
Last updated 12:05 01/10/2012
Waiheke protest
George Gardner / Fairfax NZ

PROTEST: Police carry away a protester at Wharetana Bay where the landowners have been granted a permit to traverse the esplanade reserve with two pre-fabricated units.

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Seven people have been arrested on Waiheke Island during a dawn protest over the arrival of two prefabricated units at a building site at Wharetana Bay.

The Waiheke Local Board granted the Vintage Lane landowner permission to move the units to Wharetana Bay for a development which has been granted resource consent.

Some residents, including neighbours, don't want any development within the coastal yard at Wharetana Bay which they say is archaeologically, historically and culturally significant.

They are also angry about a perceived "lack of transparency" by Auckland Council who they believe should have notified the public of the development.

Auckland councillor Mike Lee and Green MP Denise Roche are among those against the development.

Roche turned up to support the protestors.

Drumming and waiata greeted the barge from 3.30am. Protestors gathered before dawn and by day-break several had slipped through the fence and stood waist deep in the sea and the chilly rain in front of the SeaLink barge that was about to dock.

Local board member Paul Walden, who had voted against the transit permit, was one of seven arrested for trespass.

Former Rainbow Warrior crew member Susi Newborn was one of several protestors to be carried back through the fence by police.

"It's Heritage Week and we are protecting our heritage just like Auckland Council wants us to," she said.

"But Where's Len Brown?"

Historian Paul Monin described it as "the saddest day for Waiheke Island".

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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