Ngāti Whātua has won the support of Auckland City Council to remove boats from Okahu Bay. The request was granted under the Unitary Plan and within the year, the boats and moors will need to be removed from the area.
Ngāti Whatua's environment department manager, Te Aroha Morehu says, "No one in a lifetime has seen the bay empty of waka so that's going to be interesting for us.
We know that some of the off-shoots of maintaining their boats is actually causing some of the harm and the detriment to the bay and for that reason we made the submission so that we could advance some of our aspirations around how we filter the moana."
Ngāti Whātua's request to remove the boats and moors from the Ōrākei/Okahu Bay mooring zone was accepted by Auckland Council under the Unitary Plan.
The Auckland Council says there were no appeals to this decision.
Morehu says, “The Whanganui awa has been legislated as a being the Urewera's are the first example of that, so how can we look at something like the Waitemata as perhaps being legislated as a being? The reality is Māori don't need legislation but if other people need legislation to behave like kaitiaki then I'm all for it”
Nearly 100 boats between the eastern side of the Okahu Precinct and the marina wall on the other side will need to vacate come September.
"There's been a bunch of mitigations for that; we've given some leniency in the time frames; we've discussed available spaces elsewhere; we will have an engagement and a communication plan towards this so indeed there is a priority for us in making sure that our bay is clean but we've got to acknowlege with manaakitanga the impact that it has to some of the people that are here."
Morehu says once the bay is clear of boats, there will be more space for people to enjoy recreational activities.