"Just tell them to go away" - that was the loudest message at a community meeting at Whakapara about how to stop an Australian gold mining company going on to private land to carry out ground tests.

About 60 people also heard at Tuesday night's meeting organised by MineWatch Northland that landowners should avoid chatting with Evolution Mining representatives "around the kitchen table".

Speakers said locals "engaging" at any level gave the company a foot in the door and would weaken a united anti-mining community stance.

"Never sign anything without advice. The community needs to stand united because mining companies can carry out their activities under your land from your neighbour's side of the fence," MineWatch member Tim Howard said.


Landowners also need to be aware any access agreement is binding on the property, even if it is later sold or inherited, he said.

Surveying and other low-impact activities were already under way at Puhipuhi, and Evolution Mining had flagged it would "aggressively" progress its operation over the next six months, Mr Howard said. Jobs had already been offered locally, he said.

Evolution Mining has not replied to Advocate queries about its local operations.

Ngati Hau's Whakapara Marae Resource Management Unit was criticised when chairman Te Raa Nehua said a delegation planned to travel to Waihi to see how mining impacted on that community and to talk with officials, local hapu and community members.

Mr Nehua said the group did not consider the fact-finding mission "engagement with Evolution Mining".

He said the marae was opposed to mining at Puhipuhi but had to ensure cultural protocols were in place.

A "minimum impact" exploration permit allowed mining companies legal access to private land to take ground samples by hand. However, the company had to give 10 working days' notice and have the owner's or occupier's written consent to come on to the land, the meeting heard. Technicians had to keep a certain distance from stock, fences and buildings and arrive and leave at a time agreed to 10 days earlier, or be locked out or evicted.

Coromandel Minewatch campaign manager Ruby Powell said well-organised, united community resistance meant there was no mining on much of the peninsula despite it being covered by permits 35 years ago.


Instead, mining was centred at Waihi where there was no initial cohesive community resistance, Ms Powell said.

Despite government and industry promises of socio-economic and community benefits from mining, Waihi workers had the lowest average income in the Waikato and the town had the highest social problem statistics, she said.