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SKP Say Māori Cultural Values Are Important As Marina Battle Goes To High Court

SKP Inc (Save Kennedy Point) are in the High Court seeking to overturn a resource consent for a mammoth marina development at Kennedy Point, Waiheke Island.

The question at the centre of the appeal rests upon a premise that will be important for decision making throughout Aotearoa New Zealand in that SKP is asking the High Court to determine ‘if it is important for the Environment Court to hear from the correct Māori entity when hearing and determining cultural effects evidence.’

SKP hopes that the High Court agrees with it, and will say ‘yes’ that it is of course important that the Courts hear from the correct Māori and mana whenua entity on cultural effects.

According to Chairperson David Baigent, “If the Courts, Council and NZ takes its Treaty of Waitangi obligations seriously, then it is important that the correct mana whenua entity is listened to in respect of Māori cultural values and the adverse effects of proposed developments on those cultural values”

‘Otherwise SKP fears that “developers could just go shopping for the cultural effects evidence that best supports that particular development. And the message we would be sending to Māori is that money is more important than mana, that Māori can just be bought. That’s not something SKP agrees with and is why we’ve taken this case all the way to the High Court.”

For SKP, the stakes could not be greater. In its High Court Appeal, SKP alleges that in approving resource consent for the Kennedy Point Marina, the Environment Court relied on cultural effects evidence from an entity not entitled to speak for Ngāti Pāoa. Rather the entity who SKP alleges is entitled to speak for Ngāti Pāoa, the Ngāti Pāoa Trust Board, says that it does not support the marina development and that it would like the opportunity to put its cultural effects evidence to the Court before any marina consent is determined.

The High Court appeal was necessary after the Environment Court refused to rehear the case because it held that the new cultural effects evidence of the Trust Board, relied on by SKP was “not important”.

“SKP was very surprised and disappointed that the Environment Court held that the evidence of the Trust Board was ‘not important’. It came as a shock. How can an allegation that the Environment Court was perhaps misled by relying on evidence from an entity that may not have been entitled to speak for Ngāti Pāoa not be important? If cultural evidence is important, then it must follow that it is imperative to prove that who provides that cultural evidence is the right entity. We believe the Environment Court got it very wrong and applied the incorrect tests in rejecting SKPs rehearing application” says David Baigent

The matter will now be heard by Justice Gault, starting on Tuesday, from 10am in Court Room 14 at the Auckland High Court.

With Covid-19 restrictions beginning to ease, SKP expects quite a few supporters and Ngāti Pāoa iwi and other Māori interested in the outcome of the case will attend to show their support for SKP and the important issues being put to the Court on behalf of Māori by SKP.

As SKP is an incorporated society, SKP relies on donations to fund its legal costs, If you would like to support SKP donations can be given on SKP’s Givealittle page https://givealittle.co.nz/donate/cause/skp-appeal-fundraiser or SKP’s website www.skp.org.nz

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