The owner of a seaside stall that locals accuse of spoiling pristine Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula says tourists are relieved to see him at the end of a long, hot walk, and that he is leaving the white-sand beach cleaner than he finds it each day.

Shanan Laird, 31, said he had had nothing but positive feedback from visitors - and only two negative comments from locals - since he began selling drinks and sandwiches at the untouched spot, 30 minutes' walk from the road.

The former ski-patroller carries a 2m x 2m table by boat to the cove each day and offers basic first aid, sunblock, snorkels, drinks and sandwiches to beachgoers.

As part of his contract with the Department of Conservation, he must clean the beach of all rubbish before he leaves each day.

The stall has reportedly sparked an angry email campaign to Conservation Minister Tim Groser and Prime Minister John Key from locals, who say they were not consulted and who fear that DoC has opened the floodgates to hawkers by licensing the stall.

Mr Laird said he got the idea last summer after seeing people arrive at the beach, hot and bothered, with no food or water and having to turn back.

"All the tourists are just so happy that someone is there with water because they didn't realise the walk was so difficult," he said. "Lots of people just forget [to bring drinks]. It's a beautiful place so I may as well enhance it by offering cold drinks so people can spend longer there."

Mr Laird's brother, Ryan, a restaurant owner at nearby Cooks Beach, said visitors could not believe there was nowhere to buy drinks at the cove before this summer. The stall was tucked into the bush so it would not interfere with the vista.

"The place is already highly commercialised with the snorkelling tours and boat trips and everything ... but there is no support on the beach to remove anything [rubbish] that gets left there," he said.

The brothers had heard some locals were disturbed about the stall, but he believed it was better to have something low-key at the beach than to end up with something more intrusive.

"We have heard people saying it is a pristine environment and there should be nothing there," he said. "[But] it is getting busier and busier."

The Department of Conservation will decide whether to renew Shanan Laird's trial licence next summer, after canvassing locals and visitors.

Mr Laird, who is trained in first aid, said he had already made himself useful by rescuing a young girl who became stuck on the rocks, bandaging a sprained ankle and towing a stuck boat to safety.

Reports that he was selling icecreams, and that he did not have permission from the local council, were wrong, he said.

Cathedral Cove became famous internationally after its crystal waters and arch featured in the 100 per cent Pure New Zealand tourism campaign. It is accessible by boat or a half-hour trek.