Local opposition and an unveiling at a cemetery has forced part of tomorrow's Far North Rally to be cut short.

Four roads south of Doubtless Bay were to have been closed from 12.20-4.20pm for stage six of the rally, which starts at Kawakawa at 7am and ends eight stages later at the Copthorne Hotel in Waitangi around 4.30pm.

However, Parapara residents objected to the closure of their road, which passes two marae and three urupā (cemeteries). One urupā was due to host a headstone unveiling on Saturday.

Rangi Hetaraka, a member of Ngāti Tara, took out a public notice in the Northland Age declaring his hapū's opposition to the area being used to ''promote dangerous and reckless driving that endangers our health and safety''.

''They come flying past our cemetery, our marae. It's just not on,'' he said.


There had been no consultation with the hapū, marae, church committee or community by rally organisers or the Far North District Council, and 10 days' notice of the road closure via a leaflet drop was inadequate.

''Some of these unveilings out here have been planned two years ago. Why should we change it with 10 days' notice?''

Hetaraka called a public meeting on Tuesday evening which was attended by about a dozen Parapara residents and local driver Hazely Windelborn representing rally organisers.

After robust discussion it was agreed that stage six would be cut short so it ended at the Parapara-Toatoa Rd junction and didn't pass the marae.

Windelborn said residents had been able to get their point across and be heard, also about the need for better communication in future.

If locals had been consulted they could have raised the issue with the unveiling well in advance and the situation could have been avoided.

Most people in the Far North saw the rally as a positive event and looked forward to it.

The organisers would have to work with the community to make sure it could continue in future.

Stage six was to have started on Pekerau Rd, off State Highway 10 south of Lake Ohia, then followed Taumata Rd, Parapara-Toatoa Rd and Paranui Rd, ending south of Taipa in Doubtless Bay.

From there vehicles were to have made their way down Oruru Rd to the start of stage seven, near Peria.

The other stages are at Orakau, Iwitaua, Mangatoetoe, Kaitaia's Church Rd, Kenana and Waiare.

All racing is on metal roads with drivers required to observe normal road rules between stages. Each stage is closed to traffic for four hours.

Organised by the Auckland Car Club, the rally has just under 50 entries with 10 in the classic event for vehicles built before 1987.

Entries range from a 1300cc classic Skoda to a two-litre, four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Evo 9.

Far North Rally chairman Bob Mitchell could not be contacted yesterday.