A tug of war is developing over what to do about the wreck of the Rena in the Bay of Plenty four years on since the ship ran aground.
The Rena ran aground in 2011 when the ship struck the Astrolabe Reef, hemorrhaging hundreds of tones of oil and splitting into two, resulting in a massive cleanup.
Bay of Plenty iwi are against the Rena's owners request to leave the ship's wreckage on the reef.
However, Te Arawa is in favour of the removal following advice by one of their own, Joe Te Kowhai.
Mr Te Kowhai, an experienced diver, had first agreed with the iwi about removing the Rena from the seabed, but after numerous dives to the wreck has changed his mind.
"The remnants of the wreck have integrated themselves really well into the structure of the reef because there is a lot of fauna," Mr Te Kowhai told ONE News.
He says bringing in huge structures and machinery to lift the ship out of the water would "literall tear away at the reef".
Presenting his research to Te Arawa, Mr Te Kowhai has convinced them to support the owners bid to leave the remnants of the Rena where it lies.
But, the change of direction and Te Arawa's million dollar settlement has upset other iwi who say they don't want to leave the legacy of the wreck to their grandchildren.
The fight over the wreck will be heard at a resource consent hearing next month.