Julanne Astarte Luz with two of her sons Elijah and Felix.

Julanne Astarte Luz has been living under the shadow of a lengthy jail term for over a year, after being charged with allegedly assaulting three Warden Security employees during Protect Pūtiki’s protest against the Kennedy Point marina development last June.

This week she is breathing a sigh of relief after the charges were dismissed in court. The judge found the evidence from the security guards and other witnesses, who worked for developer Kennedy Point Boatharbour Limited, to be insubstantial and not enough to back up the assault charges.

Julanne, a mother of four and Waiheke resident for over 20 years, was part of the core group of Protect Pūtiki members who were involved in the group’s protests against the marina almost every day last winter. The development has been passionately opposed from the get-go by protesters concerned about the impact on the kororā, little blue penguins. Community group Save Kennedy Point spent four years locked in legal battles trying to prevent construction even begining, before finally agreeing to a High Court settlement to allow the marina to go ahead with a penguin protection plan in June 2021.

Almost immediately a new group of iwi, Waiheke residents and environmentalists led by members of Ngāti Pāoa, which became Protect Pūtiki, formed to continue opposing Kennedy Point Boatharbour under the principal of kaitiakitanga (guardianship). Protect Pūtiki believed the concessions made by Kennedy Point Boatharbour weren’t enough to protect the kororā and continued trying to disrupt the marina’s construction.

Subscribe and read Gulf News and Waiheke Weekender Online