21 Oct 2010

Far North Council to talk with Maori occupation group

6:50 pm on 21 October 2010

The Far North District Council has sent officials to Taipa to talk to a Ngati Kahu group occupying a reserve used by the local sailing club.

Brothers John and Wikitana Popata - who were arrested after a scuffle with Prime Minister John King at Waitangi last year - are fronting the occupation, saying they have the backing of their elders.

A council spokesperson, Alison Lees, says the council is trying to find out exactly what the group's grievance is and what it wants.

She says the occupation is not a good look for the beachside community, with Labour Weekend coming up.

Ms Lees says people trying to use the reserve and boat ramp have complained they feel intimidated by the occupation and businesses are worried it will drive customers and guests away.

The council's chief executive has gone to Taipa to talk to the occupiers on Thursday evening, she says.