Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has backed a call from the new mayor of Tāmaki Makaurau for the Ports of Auckland to vacate its city waterfront site.
Mayor Wayne Brown released a letter to Ports of Auckland chairwoman Jan Dawson earlier today saying he has given the ports less than six months to come up with a plan to free up land for public use, specifically the Bledisloe Wharf used for car imports.
Brown asked the company to work with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and other businesses and community groups to develop a plan and timeline to transform the area from the Ferry Building to Bledisloe Wharf.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust deputy chair Ngarimu Blair supported Brown’s call.
“We welcome the opportunity to work directly with the Ports of Auckland and the Mayor on how we can quickly unlock access to the Waitematā for all Aucklanders,” he said.
“From our marae and village on Bastion Point we have long seen the encroachment of the port on our beautiful Waitematā, which is no longer appropriate for a world-class city.”
The iwi supports shifting the port's freight movement from road to rail, another move Brown wants to reduce congestion and see carbon emissions drop.
“Container trucks clog our city centre and motorways, and add to the city’s already high transport carbon emissions. Runoff from our roads also pollute the Waitematā, which is a taonga to our fellow Aucklanders too,” Blair said.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei contends they have exclusive mana whenua status in Tamaki Makaurau through te ahi kā roa: the concept of maintaining the home fires lit through intergenerational and continuous occupation and use of land. The city’s waterfront is regarded as a core area of their territory.