His farm-registered SUV and makeshift lean-to with
rudimentary kitchen shelves has occupied a prime corner of
Auckland's waterfront for more than a year.
A so-called freedom camper and fisherman called John is
bamboozling officials under pressure to move him on.
His possie is on Wynyard Pt, at the northern end of a
precinct in the throes of a multibillion-dollar
redevelopment, and just across the water from property
developer Dave Henderson's $10 million penthouse on Princes
John, who will not give his full name, says it is part of a
"fisherman's park" allowing him a right to peaceful
He says he is not hurting anybody by being there, in the
company of more occasional freedom campers and anglers, in
the sun and breeze a world away from the melee of Queen St.
But another fisherman pressing Auckland Transport to take
action accuses him of arrogance in monopolising the site, and
obscuring a road safety sign warning motorists of a sharp
"Not only is he parked in front of this sign, which is
erected on to a tin fence, but he has built a shelter with
kitchen shelves between his vehicle and the fence," said the
complainant, who did not want to be identified.
The man said the council's transport body had painted broken
yellow lines along the full eastern side of Bingham St except
for the final two or three metres - under John's vehicle.
"He refused to move for them to paint there."
John told the Herald he had a personal "gripe" with Auckland
Council, and did not want to go public with it. "That's
personal between me and the council - I'm not going to
advertise my position,"
"This is a fisherman's park, it always has been," said John,
who is believed to be of Cook Islands Maori descent.
But when asked if he was exercising customary rights to the
fishery, he said he was receiving legal advice.
Auckland Transport communications general manager Wally
Thomas said John was "well known to us", having been at the
location on and off for up to three years.
Although parking officers had issued his vehicle with 15
infringement notices, including for being unwarranted and
unregistered and for "inconsiderate parking", Mr Thomas said
it was up the courts to rule on those and to Auckland Council
to move him under the Freedom Camping Act.
Mr Thomas said the SUV's Class B registration required it to
stay within a maximum radius of a farm where it was supposed
to be based.
"One of his defences was that it [Wynyard Wharf] is called
the Tank Farm."
Auckland Council spokesman Glyn Walters said John did not
have approval to park overnight and that "ultimately he will
have to move on and find a safer and more appropriate
location to live".
"We discourage long-stay visitors at Wynyard Point because it
is a public highway and also because hazardous chemicals are
stored nearby," Mr Walters said.
"Auckland Transport works actively to remove vehicles from
this area but it appears this individual keeps returning."
- Mathew Dearnaley of the NZ Herald