Ngai Taiwhakaea and the Whakatane District Council have agreed to jointly research the history of the road between Taiwhakaea Marae and Te Paroa Beach, which the Council believes to be a public road.
Hapu members of Ngai Taiwhakaea asserted their Mana Whenua and closed the road on September 28, claiming ownership and seeking acknowledgement from the Whakatane District Council, as tangata whenua from Taumata Kahawai to Tarawera River.
Once the research outcomes are available, both parties have committed to further discussions on the road.
In the meantime, the gates which were preventing vehicle access will be opened from 6am to 7pm each day, as a sign of good faith.
Road users are asked to drive considerately along the unsealed road, as it has a long history of creating a dust nuisance for residents, as a result of the road conditions and motorists travelling at speeds of 80km/h or more.
Fly-tipping, excessive speed and dust have all presented problems in the past, and both Ngai Taiwhakaea and the Council wish to make it clear that those activities are unacceptable in an area of great historic, spiritual and ecological importance.