The Cook Islands Crown Law Office has just issued a statement clarifying the law governing the use of public and private property.
The Rarotongan Resort and Spa has caused a stir by charging non guests a $100 day fee to use its facilities, which it says includes the beachfront.
The Crown Law Office says the private land lease for the resort extends from the main road to the mean high water mark, which is the average or mid-point between the spring and neap tide.
The law defines this area as their exclusive property.
But the Crown Law Office says the problem is how that mean high water mark is physically determined, given that it varies from time to time.
It says the hotel can't prevent members of the public from using the part of the beach area which is below that mark.