Forest & Bird is extremely concerned by footage and images which show marina works at Waiheke Island’s Kennedy Point are having significant impacts on the resident little blue penguin (kororā) colony, and have just written to Auckland Council to seek that all works are stopped immediately.
Kennedy Point Boat Harbour Limited’s (KPBL) marina works undertaken over the last few days have included placing buoys alongside the rockwall resulting in kororā being unable to swim out of their nests, shining lights all night on kororā nests, drilling holes for a fence one metre above nests, and creating sediment plumes which significantly impacts visibility for kororā attempting to forage during the day.
“We’ve written to Auckland Council asking that any work at Kennedy Point is immediately stopped. Kororā are easily disturbed and are an at-risk and declining native species,” says Forest & Bird’s Auckland Regional Manager, Lissy Fehnker-Heather.
A copy of the letter, as well as video footage and images are available here.
“At this point we have little confidence that KPBL will safeguard the penguins during the marina’s construction.
"Furthermore, we have confirmation from an independent kororā expert that the draft kororā management plan submitted by KPBL is outdated and incorrect, and that works should not commence until a proper, robust site assessment is undertaken,” adds Mrs Fehnker-Heather.
“For example, there is video footage showing that pair bonding in this colony is happening now, not July as stated in the draft plan. This means that egg-laying will also occur 1-2 months earlier than the current kororā management plan resulting in construction activity occurring whilst kororā are bonding, nesting, and egg laying.
“In addition, KPBL are breaking their promise that no construction work would happen until the new kororā plan was finalised. Calling something ‘non-construction’ doesn’t make it so – these images and video clearly show the work is construction activity and it is disturbing kororā.
“Auckland Council needs to intervene and actually visit the site to see the extent of what is happening and the impact current works are having on the kororā.
"It is incredibly disappointing that local community groups such as Uri o Ngāti Paoa occupiers, Native Bird Rescue, Mauri o te Moana and ourselves have to pick up the slack and act as a watchdog to ensure consent conditions are being met and our taonga species are protected. We further acknowledge the work that Uri o Ngāti Paoa occupation are taking in their petition through highlighting the ineffective processes that have been undertaken by Auckland Council around the resource consent itself.”