An appeal against plans to dredge parts of Tauranga Harbour to make it suitable for larger vessels, has opened in the Environment Court.
Resource consents were granted to allow the port company to remove 15 million cubic metres of sediment from the harbour.
The Port of Tauranga wants to deepen the shipping channels by just over three metres as part of its multi-million dollar expansion plans.
This will allow ships over 350 metres long to berth without having to wait for high tide.
The dredging is opposed by iwi, who are worried about the environmental effects on shellfish beds in the harbour.
The hearing in Tauranga is expected to be completed by the end of this month.