Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has gone from opposing the America's Cup village in Auckland to getting behind the waterfront development.

The local iwi has today filed an application with the Environment Court supporting the notified resource consent of Panuku Development Auckland, which will allow for infrastructure to be developed ahead of the America's Cup.

It had previously opposed a resource consent for extensive modifications on the waterfront, which the iwi said would degrade the mauri (spirit) of the Waitematā.

Trust Deputy Chairman Ngarimu Blair says the iwi is now confident that the development agency understands the importance of the Waitematā Harbour as a taonga.

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"We take great pride in being mana whenua in central Tāmaki and know that our responsibility as kaitiaki is to protect the Waitematā Harbour for all people. The Waitematā is the jewel in Auckland's Crown - it is a taonga.

"The America's Cup will be a showcase event for Auckland and we wanted to ensure that the whenua and moana were protected and enjoyed. Panuku's plans now better represent that," said Blair.

He says Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei is also encouraged by the City's support to investigate the establishment of a Māori/Polynesian cultural centre somewhere along the Waterfront CBD.

"This represents a legacy project to recognise and celebrate Ngāti Whātua Orākei, and other iwi relationships with the Waitematā and wider Pacific.

"We are excited about being able to share our cultural heritage and values with both domestic and global visitors and believe this will be an integral part of the America's Cup experience. 2021 is shaping up to be a huge year and we and other iwi are preparing so that Māori can leverage all activities for the benefit of their communities also.

"Our iwi has had a long and positive relationship with Emirates Team New Zealand and we look forward to helping deliver a great event."