8 Sep 2010

Trust explains stance over blocked access to beach

11:44 am on 8 September 2010

A Maori Trust in the Far North is defending its decision to block a popular beach road to commercial tour operators.

The Kohanga Trust has barred two companies from the road to Shipwreck Bay, at the southern end of 90 Mile Beach.

The dispute came to a head at the weekend, when a trustee climbed into a vehicle with four tourists and tried to move it.

Te Kohanga spokesperson Patau Tepania says the road was built by the trust for a beach subdivision and is not a public road.

He says members of the public are welcome to use the road free, but tour companies should pay a fee.

Mr Tepania says the trust tried for months to make a deal with the operators, but they would never sign an agreement.

Police are investigating the incident.