The 246ha main Matauri X incorporation block at Matauri' />

One of the Far North's finest pieces of coastal land is on the market in a mortgagee sale.

The 246ha main Matauri X incorporation block at Matauri Bay is up for sale by tender.

The sale is the latest development in a long-running saga following Matauri X's failed investment in a now-defunct mineral bottling water company, Eternal Waters.

But in another twist, a land claim covering the entire 549ha Matauri X landholding at Matauri Bay, including the part for sale, has been filed with the Waitangi Tribunal.

The claim has been lodged by Matauri X's single biggest shareholder and Matauri Bay resident Dover Samuels.

Mr Samuels emphasised yesterday that he was acting on behalf of himself, his whanau and the Ngati Kura hapu of which he is a member, not as Te Tai Tokerau MP.

He is seeking an urgent hearing.

Matauri X, without the knowledge or permission of most of its 430-odd shareholders, mortgaged its land some years ago to raise money for the bottled-water venture.

It is now in default, owing a total of nearly $5 million in mortgage repayments and interest to two finance companies.

One of these, Auckland-based Instant Funding, as lender, is foreclosing on what it lent Matauri X after being given priority from Bridgecorp for a $750,000 first mortgage over the main Matauri X block.

Matauri X interim administrator Kevin Gillespie said Instant Funding had received no repayments. It was now seeking to recover nearly $1 million it claims is owed to it through a mortgagee sale of land in the block, described by agents Barfoot & Thompson as "a truly spectacular coastal property ... incorporating pristine beachfront, rugged headland, coastal clifftop and lowland flats extending behind the beachfront".

Tenders close on May 3.

Mr Samuels' claim to the Waitangi Tribunal says a Matauri X management committee entered into a commercial transaction over which he had had no say and for which he gave no consent. The transaction included granting a mortgage over incorporation land, but the commercial venture failed and the mortgage was now in default. Because of this, there was now a risk that the land would be lost.

The claim refers to a proposed 10ha subdivision as a means to repay money owed and says part of the land area proposed for alienation is where Mr Samuels has a direct personal beneficial interest over and above other Matauri X shareholders.

Under either this proposal or the current mortgagee sale, his interest in the land would be reduced.

The claim seeks return of this land, reinstatement of Mr Samuels' beneficial interest and an injunction to restrain any proposals by the Maori Land Court or the administrator to deal with or sell the land.

It also seeks unspecified compensation for actions of the Maori Land Court, as an agent of the Crown, for alienation of the land. "This is a claim against the Maori Land Court as an agent of the Crown," Mr Samuels said. "There was a real alternative to us losing our land under a 60-year lease to Julian Robertson of Kauri Cliffs.

"That lease would have lifted debt and mortgage from our land but it was turned down by the land court."

Mr Gillespie said Matauri X lawyers believed Instant Funding was likely to be subject to rulings from the Court of Appeal over litigation involving the default to Bridgecorp.

He said he was considering filing an injunction in the High Court to stop any sale of the land until the Court of Appeal had released its decision on the Bridgecorp issue.

He is continuing negotiations to try to find bridging finance necessary to repay existing debt - with the amount to be determined by the Court of Appeal's decision.

Waitangi claim


* Te Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels has filed a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal to protect his interests in a Far North area of coastal land.

* The claim - filed by Mr Samuels as an individual rather than a politician - seeks to protect a block of Maori-owned land going in a forced sale.

* Mr Samuels wants to halt the sale and believes compensation is due.