A Ngāti Kahu spokeswoman says it should be up to tangata whenua to say if a beachfront reserve is leased to a Chinese company.
Carrington Jade, the owner of the Whatuwhiwhi Holiday Park, wants to lease part of Perehipe reserve for the campers who flock there in summer.
Previous park owners have used the reserve without a formal contract with the council.
Ngāti Kahu runanga chief executive Anahera Herbert-Graves said it was astonishing some locals objected.
She said she doubted they would care had the new owners not been Chinese.
Mrs Herbert-Graves said Perehipe was originally set aside as a Māori reserve. The rightful owners, Te Whānau Moana hapū, should determine its future, she said.