Two independent commissioners begin hearing submissions in Wairoa on Thursday, about a proposed subdivision of Maori owned land at Mahia Peninsula, which has caused a considerable amount of controversy in the district.
The Pongaroa Land Company wants to develop a seven hectare coastal block into 48 residential sites each with an area of about 1000 square metres, as well as a lifestyle block and a camping ground.
A cultural report describes the land as being gifted in 1867 to a Ngapuhi chief Te Wera Hauraki for the duration of his life. The present owner George Ormond says it's been in his family since about 1884.
The proposal attracted 1200 submissions with almost 90% of them opposed.
Many people are concerned at the lack of consultation and that the land forms an important part of significant waahi tapu sites in northern Hawke's Bay.
The applicant's landscape architect says the proposal meets all the objectives and policies of the Wairoa Council and should be approved.
But the council's planner disagrees and recommends consent be declined.