18 Jan 2010

90 Mile Beach may get new name

8:11 am on 18 January 2010

Ninety Mile Beach may be given a new name under a tentative agreement between the Crown and five Far North iwi to settle Treaty claims.

Te Hiku Forum, which represents five iwi with a total of 40,000 members, has signed an agreement in principle with the Crown to settle a range of claims lodged in the past 23 years.

The deal provides for Maori co-governance of 90 Mile Beach, including providing for a possible name change for that area, which is also known as Te Oneroa a Tohe.

The Crown has also agreed to pay $120 million and transfer the ownership of Aupouri forest and seven Crown-owned farms.

Treaty Settlements Minister Chris Finlayson says final deeds of settlement may be signed by the end of the year.

Forum chairman Haami Piripi says it will help promote the cultural values of Te Ara Wairua, the spiritual path located at Cape Reinga.

Far North Outback Adventures, which takes tours along 90 Mile Beach, says Te Oneroa a Tohe will be a great point of difference for the region.

Tour operator Phil Cross says renaming the beach would be easily accommodated by tourism operators. Destination Northland agrees.