Far North District Council apologises to Iwi

Producers of Top Gear, a BBC TV programme, want a piece of the Far North, so they can capture their vehicles at high speed on Ninety Mile Beach.

David Penny of the FNDC says “this particular segment will be seen in around 212 different countries and so the oppourtunity to use this for the benefit of New Zealand and the Far North in particular is quite significant.”

However, not everyone is happy, according to the Chairman of Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa, Haami Piripi, “maybe they received a concession because they are all the same.  We’ve witnessed this in the past, Pākehā helping Pākehā.”

On Tuesday, the FNDC issued a public notice stating:

From March 11-17, all access points to the beach will be closed from West Coast Road, Ahipara to Te Paki Stream between 12pm to 5pm. 

Mr Piripi says, “at the end of the day, this is a restriction.  Only one authority should be imposing such a ban on this beach, and that's local iwi.'

This is a sentiment shared by Raymond Subritsky, the Chair of Te Rūnanga Nui o Te Aupōuri, “that's a sacred place to all of Māoridom.  That's the path the departed take to Cape Reinga.'

However, the FNDC has apologised, saying the process could've been handled better.

Mr Subritsky says “they were wrong to have only consulted one iwi.  Why didn't they consult us?”

However, iwi are now left wondering just how much money the FNDC earned for closing this deal.

Reporter:  Harata Brown