Buying land containing a sacred mountain adjoining Ngunguru Sandspit and putting it into public ownership will ensure wahi tapu and other special cultural values are protected, the group behind the plan says.
Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society is behind plans to buy 69 hectares of private land adjacent to the Crown owned portion of the Ngunguru Sandspit.
The plan is to return the land - which includes Whakairiora Mountain - to the public ownership through the Crown.
However, the plan has concerned some hapu members from the area and the society is meeting with the group to allay their fears.
Negotiations with the group are continuing to ensure wahi tapu and other special cultural values are protected in the proposed deal, society chairman Jim Kilpatrick said.
Much of Ngunguru Sandspit was put into public ownership in 2012 when the Government of the day acquired the property from Todd Property Group, formerly known as Landco.
The Department of Conservation swapped a parcel of surplus government land and buildings in Napier to gain possession of the sandspit, which was then put into public ownership.
The land swap came after years of campaigning by the Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society, but concerns remained for the southern end and Whakairiora Mountain, which were both still in private ownership.
A Givealittle campaign has been launched that, if successful, will add a further 69ha of the culturally significant coastal landscape to the 83ha of the sandspit that was obtained by the Crown.
In particular, it will protect the base of the sandspit, the Rangikorero pa site and the prominent bush-clad Maunga Whakairiora, which is home to a unique sequence of coastal forest.
The Givealittle campaign seeking $1.5 million of the $3.6m sale price has been organised by the Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society after it signed a conditional sale-and- purchase agreement with the present owner of the land, development company Templeton Commercial Limited.
Kilpatrick said if the campaign is successful the land would then be placed into Crown title and effectively added to the existing partial Sandspit Reserve.
He said negotiations with hapu members to resolve the best way of protecting this land are continuing "but the clock is ticking to meet the conditions in the sale and purchase agreement signed with Templeton".
Meanwhile concerns raised by hapu members about Crown ownership were also being considered, he said.
''The society is aware of the cultural significance of this land to hapu and for this reason continues to involve hapu members in its decision making and activities," Kilpatrick said.
He did not want to comment any more at this stage as further meetings with hapu representatives were yet to occur.
"The society believes it and the hapu share a common goal of seeing this land protected and cared for."
The Givealittle campaign - at givealittle.co.nz/search?q=ngunguru+sandspit - has so far raised more than $102,000.