Te Uri o Hau iwi in Northland says it will never give up its kaitiaki role of coastal land near Mangawhai, despite gifting it to the Auckland Council.
The iwi will officially offer 172 hectares of land in Te Arai to the council, in exchange for consent it has gained to build 46 houses in the area.
The council could turn the land into a reservation, which would further protect the threatened fairy tern, which nests in the area.
Te Uri o Hau Settlement Trust acting chief executive Deborah Harding says the the iwi's role, once the land is gifted, has not been worked out.
She says discussions will need to be had around co-management, exercising its guardianship role and the naming of the land.
Ms Harding says the iwi will never give up its kaitiakitanga or guardianship role.