Pressure to develop Marsden Point's port facilities for the future is meeting the weight of history with competing claims over the confiscated land on which it would sit.
The land was among the earliest confiscated during colonisation and settlement issues have yet to be resolved.
The key issue is one of hapū rights versus that of Ngātiwai, which claims mana whenua from Cape Brett-Rakaumangamanga to Mahurangi, to Great Barrier-Aotea and back to the North.
Inside that broad area is the Patuharakeke hapū, which sees Ruakaka as home.
For Patuharakeke Trust Board trustee Guy Gudex, the question of the proposed port move is entangled with resolving its claim to the land, and Treaty of Waitangi settlement pressures.
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Gudex said the Waitangi Tribunal's inquiry into Northland is still a few years away from completion.
Until then, the prospect of settlement is one that threatens to destabilise the hapū's claim to the land. The issue is particularly vexed should the Northland inquiry find the hapū's claim to be well founded.
"The link for Patuharakeke is they have no land left," he says. "It's difficult for Patuharakeke to unbundle [the port proposal] with the Treaty settlement and other issues.
"It's too simplistic to say Patuharakeke is opposed to future development. Of course it isn't. Patuharakeke can see what's happening in its back yard and it's going to go off in the future."
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Ngātiwai chairman Haydn Edmonds said the iwi supported the proposed port move to the area considered its rohe, which included Marsden Point.
"We think it will create opportunities for more employment. That is a major reason why we support it."
Edmonds said other benefits included the rail infrastructure that would come with the port, taking trucks from Northland's roads.
He said the conflicting claims over the land would not stand in the way of Ngātiwai's support for the proposed move.
"The trust board believes there are economic opportunities that will benefit all of us - not just Ngātiwai or Patuharakeke - in the North.
"I believe there is a role for not just Ngātiwai, Ngāti Whātua and Ngāpuhi, and hapū in the area. We should all be consulting about what is the best way forward."
Edmonds said the economic opportunities did not stand alone, with Ngātiwai bound to consider environmental and social considerations.
"It's a story that's worth telling to people to take on the road and saying 'these are the benefits, this is what we get in return'."
Ngāpuhi kaumātua Dover Samuels, a former Minister of Māori Affairs, said the promise of the port move was such it required input and support from all affected iwi.
"This is an economic renaissance opportunity we are looking at. We have a real opportunity to have a major export-import port in our area."
Samuels said he was inspired that local government leaders had united on Monday with a message to the region they supported the port move.
He said there was a need for whānau, hapū and iwi to discuss the proposal, recognise the benefits and lend their voice to the cause.
"I call for all the Māori leaders, whānau, hapū and iwi, to get together and have a common voice in bringing this port to Whangārei."
He said the move - if it went ahead - would bring supporting rail infrastructure.
"It would be absolutely nuts for anyone in leadership to think they can operate a port without a rail line to it."
Support for the Port
Whangārei MP Shane Reti
of the National Party said he would champion the port's move to Marsden Point - if it stacked up financially.
"I will fight our corner for Marsden [Point] to be the place it moves to - and I am a good fighter. If we have a business case we can stack up against any other place in New Zealand, it would be momentous for the North."
Reti said the port move would have a "ripple effect" across the North.
"I think Northland has been challenged to get the funding it needs across multiple governments and over many years."
Northland DHB chairman Nick Chamberlain
, speaking as a private individual, said the expansion of Northport would boost the region's economy and push back poverty that had a serious impact on the health of those living here.
"The biggest remediable factor that drives health need and health inequities is poverty. Poverty comes from a lack of meaningful and rewarding jobs.
"I for one am not going to be silent. I am fully supportive of shifting the Auckland Port to Whangārei."
Ruakaka Economic Development Group chairman Peter Batten
said the vision of Marsden Point hosting a port that was a gateway through which goods from across the world entered New Zealand had been firmly held for decades.
He said the case for the port needed to be championed and government needed to be lobbied.
"The way things are looking at the moment, it's the best chance we have had.
"We'd prefer to be the lead group. We've got the experts - people with long histories on this. We're going to lobby really hard."
NorthChamber chief executive Stephen Smith
said it would work with Northland business to support the move of the port to Northport.
"Northland is ready, and open for business."
He said the port's move north would create jobs, housing development and grow business in the region.
Smith said NorthChamber would hold business briefings before Christmas in association with Northland Inc to brief Northland businesses on the proposal.