Court date set for Delaware dust up

The Nelson City Council Environment Court case over boat access at Delaware Wakapuaka Estuary near Nelson has entered its final phase, with a hearing on legal submissions set for September.

The Delaware Access Group, who have been fighting to save this iconic estuary launch site on behalf of boaties, fishers and the wider public since 2016, have engaged lawyer Nigel McFadden to represent the group and speak to our submission.

Nelson City Council, with the backing of local iwi, claim the historic launch site that has been used by the public since before Nelson was gazetted as a town in 1842, doesn’t exist and is trying to have boat launching and retrieving determined a ‘not permitted activity’. In its legal submission, Nelson City Council claim there has never been a launch ramp there, despite The Delaware Bay Access Group pointing out in its submission, that it is listed as Māori Pa Road Boat Ramp in MPI’s official register of New Zealand recreational boat ramps.

The Māori Pa Road Boat Ramp is the only safe all weather launch ramp in the area and, until the Environment Court rules either way, the launching and retrieval of boats there continues.

Claims of the issuance of bogus trespass notices have surfaced and the group urges the boat launching public to avoid conflict and remain focused on launching and retrieving your boats.

The group has lodged an information report with Nelson Police, which allows members of the public to report and log any incidents relating to the launch of boats at 310 Maori Pa Road, Delaware Bay. The file reference number is 201222/6902.

If an incident requires immediate response, dial 111. However, phones may not work out there so there is opportunity to log incidents after the event by dialling 105 or file a report online at

While it appears a local issue, the wrong outcome could set a dangerous precedent for beach access throughout the country. The Delaware Bay Access Group has spent $30,000 or more to date, fighting this on behalf of the public. More money is required to finish the job, so please give generously.

Please pay your donation to Delaware Bay Access Group Incorporated Society, bank account: 06-0958-0210014-00

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