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On 5 May 2022, Auckland Council rejected a contentious application to dredge two million cubic metres of sand from the seabed at Pakiri Beach, north of Auckland. The sand was intended for use in the construction industry.

The hearing had started in May 2021 and reconvened in February this year. There was significant opposition from environmental and community groups, local residents, Ngāti Manuhiri, Ngātiwai and Te Whenua o Pakiri. 

Among counsel appearing for the local residents was Bankside Barrister Derek Nolan QC. Council adopted both his submissions that a precautionary approach was required to be taken when considering the proposal, and that there was a lack of sufficient information to grant consent.

A feature of the case was evidence by the iwi groups of the adverse cultural effects of sand mining at Pakiri, including the impact on their kaimoana and their concerns over erosion of Pakiri Beach. The cultural effects were accepted as significant by the Council.

Annie Baines, Omaha Marae Trust chair was “absolutely rapt” with the decision, stating that she was more concerned for the mauri of the environment than Auckland’s need for concrete.

Bankside Chambers member Sir David Williams KNZM QC also participated as a witness in his capacity as Chair of Friends of Pakiri Inc, representing local residents in opposition to the proposal.