A group hoping to establish a controversial barge facility at the northern tip of the East Coast is confident it will get the project across the line in the coming months.
But the initiative remains a point of contention with some locals who fear commercial interests are being placed above those of the community and environment.
Te Rimu Trust is spearheading a marine facility at Te Araroa which would allow logs, metal aggregate and other products to be transported to other coastal ports.
A harbour specially designed for the project would receive 80-metre barges carrying around 4500 tonnes of logs at a time, or the equivalent of 90 truckloads.
The trust has been working on a fast track consent for the facility- a government shortcut for projects which have the potential to boost employment and economic recovery.
Logistics consultant Ray Mudgeway told Local Democracy Reporting the trust was making strong progress and was "getting close".
"The business case has been completed and it looks good. The environmental reports don't show any red flags," he said.
"There's potential to be starting construction later this year, or early next year, so it can be quite rapid. And it's a couple of years to build the facility."
Mudgeway said this year's cyclones showed the importance of the facility from an economic and resilience standpoint.
"The fundamentals for it [the project] are really strong, and if anything, have become stronger."
However, some locals were not convinced.
Tuatara Group - a collective of ahi kā and long-term residents of Te Araroa - marched against the proposal in November, saying they were determined to maintain the natural character of their small, untouched Māori community.
Te Whānau a Hinerupe hapū member and Hinerupe Marae trustee Kararaina Ngatai-Melbourne this week said the group hadn't heard much about the project lately but were still "very much against it".
"There is definite opposition here for all the reasons we've mentioned before - the environment, the noise, the site it's going to be on.
"We choose to live here not because of something that's going to attract work . . . we live here because we choose to live here. We're from here."
Ngatai-Melbourne said the fast track consent process undermined the concerns of the community and removed them from the picture.
"That takes away our mana. If that goes ahead, we no longer have a voice in the decision-making whatsoever," she said.
"They always said from the start that they would listen to us; that they would listen to the people. But this very action has proven to be quite the opposite to that."
Asked about the criticism the project had received, Mudgeway said Te Rimu Trust had engaged well with the community.
The concerns had been taken seriously, he said.
"You've got to get the experts involved, make sure the environmental impacts are well understood and make sure that the benefits are also well understood because it's not that obvious to a lot of people, of course."
Te Rimu Trust chairman Richard Clarke said as far as timeframes were concerned, it would take three to six months to finalise contractors should a consent be granted.
Following that, the project would take around two years to complete.
Clarke said he hoped the project could become part of "the Blue Highway" - a coastal shipping route that includes nearby Hawke's Bay and Gisborne.
Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air