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From Courtroom Battles to Collective Triumph: Court Rejects Offshore Sand Mining Proposal

In a monumental victory for environmental conservation, the Environment Court has refused consents for offshore sand mining in the Mangawhai-Pakiri area. This decision reflects the power of collective efforts to protect our most vulnerable and treasured natural areas and the voices of our communities.

“People are in the streets of Mangawhai high-fiving,” says Jessie Stanley of Save Our Sands, Mangawhai Pakiri. “It’s such a tale of David and Goliath and our community has won.”

Jessie Stanley from Save Our Sands, Mangawhai / Pakiri on TV3 News.

Massive gratitude is extended to the thousands who submitted, advocated, and petitioned, with special acknowledgement of tāngata whenua and mana whenua including Te Whānau o Pakiri, Ngāti Manuhiri, Ngāti Wai and Ōmaha Marae, who have been fighting to stop sand mining in this rohe for many generations.

“This has been a hard-fought battle for generations for our people at Pakiri,” says Olivia Haddon of Te Whanau o Pakiri, “we are delighted and relieved with the decision. I thank my dad Laly Haddon for his foundational work, he was before his time. We also want to recognise our local communities and the environmental organisations that got behind us. Teamwork is dream work. It is now time to celebrate, heal and restore both our marine environment and our people.”

There were many individuals and groups who testified in court, including Auckland Council, NZ Fairy Tern Trust, Friends of Pakiri, Save Our Sands Mangawhai Pakiri, Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Trust, Forest and Bird, and the Environmental Defence Society.

Tara iti 2024 - Image: Darren Markin

“We are so relieved that this area, which is home to 26 endangered birds, including our most endangered manu, the tara iti (New Zealand fairy tern), will finally have a rest and be able to recover from this destructive sandmining” says Natalie Jessup, General Manager of Tāngaro Tuia te Ora, Endangered Species Foundation.

Jessie Stanley (SOS), Olivia Haddon (Te Whānau o Pakiri) and Stephen Goodger (ESF) delivering petitions with 14,000 signatures, to Councillors Pippa Coom the late Efeso Collins, calling on Auckland Council to stop sandmining at Pakiri and Mangawhai.

Despite this momentous decision, which is a win for all communities, under the government's proposed Fast-Track Approvals Bill, a trio of ministers could now ignore all the evidence and expert advice, and overturn this decision.

SOS protest at Mangawhai

“This decision is evidence that if enough people rise-up, and enough voices are heard, that together we can make a difference,” says Ken Rayward of the Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society. “If the Fast Track Bill gets passed however, all our work in the courts could be undone, so we need people to take action again and urgently”.

Make Your Submission by April 19

You can make a submission by April 19th this week to keep our treasured places safe from industrial, large scale destruction using this information, and by submitting here.

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