Auckland iwi Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei have come under fire for closing down part of Ōkahu Bay beach along the ritzy Tāmaki Drive to hold its annual Mokopuna Day, a private event to celebrate their children this Saturday.
The iwi says it is well within their rights as Ōkahu Bay was part of the land that was returned to the iwi in its treaty settlement, which is jointly administered with the Auckland City Council.
Deputy Chairman of the Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei Trust, Ngarimu Blair, says it's no different to any other event that's held there.
He says, “We're hoping Aucklanders will see this event just as they see those other events and not begrudge Ngāti Whātua to have at least one day of the last 175 years to celebrate our beautiful kids.”
Piripi Davis of Ngāti Whatua descent says, “I can't understand it. If you are a European, you can apply just the same as a Māori, but because it is Māori applying then it's suddenly a big deal.”
The iwi is expecting anywhere from 500 to 1000 people to attend the day, and says it's only a small scale event compared to the dozens of other events held there during the year.
It will be closed from 9am-3pm, but they say they're not stopping anyone from using the beach or swimming.