Governance of 90 Mile Beach in limbo due to 'embarrassing' tribal stoush

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Four Far North iwi are at loggerheads with one another over the territorial rights of 90 Mile Beach.

Treaty settlement money has been spent on consultants trying to bring the parties together.
Source: 1 NEWS

The famous coastline was handed back to Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kuri and Ngāi Takoto as part of the Waitangi Settlement deal to co-govern with local government in 2015.

Three years on and with the exception of setting up governance board - iwi and local government haven't been able to make progress.

Te Rarawa leader and chair of the board, Haami Piripi, says it's embarrassing.

"It was a big coup for us, It meant we could converge all our entities and all of our authorities into a single entity which would then take the beach's consideration into a top priority," Mr Piripi said.

The board had agreed to meet regularly, but out seven meetings, Ngāti Kuri representatives have attended three and Ngāi Takoto, just one.

Far North District Councillor and Deputy Board Chair Mate Radich, tried to pass a motion to stop the meetings until the iwi sort out their problems.

"It's a complete shambles, it's the four iwi involved they just don't trust each other they just don't like each other and they just don't like either iwi telling them what to do," he said.

At the signing in 2015, the partnership was labelled a milestone, and iwi leaders said it set a precedent for indigenous and crown relations.

Ngāti Kuri chief executive Harry Burkhardt says the they haven’t been attending the meetings because they need to resolve their differences around the manu whenua of the beach first.

Ngāi Tatoko has not returned calls from 1 NEWS.

The crown gave each iwi $137,500 for Māori translation signage and regeneration activities. The governance board was given $400,000.

Consultants had been brought in and failed leaving the board with a $28,000 bill. Other funds have been spent on transporting board members to what is being described as "useless meetings".

"What worries me is we are gonna keep on going having these meetings and that money is going to be eroded all for nothing," says Mr Radich.

The board has approached Treaty Minister Andrew Little for help who has referred them to Te Tai Tokerau MP and deputy Labour leader Kelvin Davis.

"I've received an invitation from them to come and see them and I'm happy to do that but reality is it's a matter between iwi and it's not appropriate for the crown to interfere in iwi affairs like that," he said.

Mr Davis is meeting with the board on Friday.

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