Te Rerenga Wairua/Cape Reinga will reopen to the public after a ceremony at noon today.

Ngāti Kuri Trust Board chairman Harry Burkhardt said the ''small but significant ceremony'' would reaffirm Te Rerenga Wairua as a wāhi tapu (place of spiritual significance).

Ngāti Kuri staff and whānau had spent the past two weeks working alongside the Department of Conservation and the NZ Transport Agency to check tracks, campgrounds, toilets and water supplies to get the area ready for the return of visitors.

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While the Government had lifted the number of people permitted at gatherings to 100 as of noon today, in the interest of public safety the reopening would be limited to a small pōwhiri and ceremony for iwi and partners.

A group would then walk from the gate at Te Werahi to the lighthouse.

The ceremony would be livestreamed so anyone could watch, Burkhardt said.

"It has been no small task ensuring this place is safe for people to access. The restricted access to Te Rerenga Wairua has been very much a practical response as a spiritual one.''

The road to Te Rerenga Wairua/Cape Reinga will re-open after a ceremony at noon today. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The road to Te Rerenga Wairua/Cape Reinga will re-open after a ceremony at noon today. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Ngāti Kuri, New Zealand's northernmost tribe, owns much of the land around the Cape and has had a co-governance arrangement with DoC over Te Paki Reserve conservation land since a Treaty settlement in 2015.

Campgrounds at Tapotupotu and Kapowairua (Spirits Bay) were closed on March 20 with the gate across State Highway 1 at Te Werahi locked five days later at the start of the lockdown.

The road closure has attracted controversy with Northland MP Matt King making headlines when he tried to visit the Cape on a family outing and confronted a Ngāti Kuri crew manning the gate.

NZ First's Shane Jones has also criticised the closure saying Maori spiritual beliefs had been distorted to justify political actions.

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