It's Mother Nature, not the Far North District Council or anyone else who will decide when vehicles can resume accessing 90 Mile Beach from Kaka St, Ahipara.

Councillor Mate Radich, who convened a meeting of locals and others at the access point on Friday, had been keen to divert the Wairoa River, which had changed course some weeks before, making vehicle access potentially dangerous, but he was in the minority, although the river has shown no sign of changing course again, and even without the concrete blocks laid by the council to block the road, vehicular access would now be challenging even for four-wheel-drives.

The closure has not been welcomed by some, however, one Ahipara resident saying the concrete blocks were damming stormwater, and people were leaving vehicles there, at times in sufficient number to create problems.

"There are queues of traffic there at times," he said.


"Cars are left blocking driveways and some drivers have trouble backing out when they realise they can't get on to the beach. It's a real shemozzle."

Northland Regional Council Kaitaia area manager Peter Wiessing said any proposal to divert the river would be unlikely to succeed, however.

"We have to give effect to the national coastal policy, and interfering with the stream or laying a hard surface are not permitted activities," he said, although "minor activity" to allow access would not be a major issue.

Patau Tepania (Te Rarawa) said on Friday that people had to start working with Mother Nature rather than against her. The Kaka St access had been designed to suit people's needs, and wasn't working any more.

He suggested looking for another access, such as the one that was once available off Korora St, which had been closed by the council for reasons that he could not explain.

Meanwhile commercial fisherman Ginty Morrogh said losing the Kaka St access meant he had to launch his boat off Foreshore Rd, which was a "big hassle", not least because the boat was over-width for the road, but losing the access would not prevent him from working.

Mr Radich said later that iwi had made it clear that they did not wish any effort to be made to divert the river, and that nature should be allowed to take its course.

"Hopefully the situation will fix itself," he said, adding that he would be looking into reopening the access off Korora St.


Mayor John Carter said the concrete blocks would be removed from Kaka St if and when it became safe to do so.