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Whangārei – The Endangered Species Foundation today asked Auckland Council to end sand mining at Pakiri in Northland, to protect the critically endangered tara iti, the Aotearoa fairy tern.

The tara iti lives at Pakiri and there are only 16 breeding pairs left in the world. It is New Zealand’s rarest endemic bird and its habitat is under grave threat.

Auckland Council is considering giving renewed resource consent to take another two million cubic metres of sand in waters off the Pakiri beach over the next 20 years. A total of 650 submissions oppose renewed consent.

Among those opposing consent are Te Whanau o Pakiri, Manuhiri Kaitiaki Charitable Trust, the Department of Conservation, the Auckland Conservation Board, Tara Iti Golf Club, Forest and Bird, Save Te Arai, the Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society, the Surfbreak Protection Society and Kiwis Against Seabed Mining.

The sand taken from Pakiri beach is used on Auckland beaches such as Mission Bay, Kohimarama, St Heliers and Herne Bay, and to make concrete for construction and roading industries.

It’s helped build Auckland landmarks, from the Sky Tower to the Waterview tunnel and the Auckland museum.

About 25 years ago, former NZ Maori rugby player, A Ngātiwai trust  board chair and a giant figure in Northland, Laly Haddon, who died eight years ago,  fought to stop Pakiri’s sand being taken to top up Auckland beaches in court on cultural grounds.

His wife Sharley is still fighting to protect the pillaged Pakiri sand today.