The Far North Regional Museum will pay only a peppercorn lease on part of its old Kaitaia premises, home of many artifacts from Te Ahu.
The terms of the museum's lease on one end of the South Rd building were debated at last week's council meeting, with Mayor Wayne Brown pushing for a market rental while councillors wanted to charge a nominal rate.
The initial proposal was to set the lease at 50 per cent of the market rate, later increasing it.
Mr Brown said Te Ahu's business plan hinged on getting a commercial return on surplus buildings, which included the former museum.
Cr Monty Knight, however, said the proposal was too hard on the museum and doubted the volunteer-run trust could afford a market rent. The museum trust could simply hand the collection to the council to look after if the terms were too harsh, he said.
Trust chairman Phil Cross said retaining part of the old museum had always been part of the plan. "We don't want to be put in a position where we're set up to fail. It is your collection and we are looking after it on your behalf," he said.
In the end councillors resolved to charge the museum a "peppercorn" lease.
Mr Brown asked for a two-year rent review clause to put pressure on the museum to earn some money.
The former museum has been divided up into four premises to make it easier to find tenants.
The Far North Foodbank Trust will occupy 70sq m at the rear of the building while the Kaitaia People Centre will use 96sq m at the front.
Details of a fourth tenancy are still being worked out.