The politics of place precipitated by a development proposal for a privately owned sandspit in Ngunguru, Northland, is examined in this article. It centres on residents' place attachment and the ways in which this helped to inform community resistance to development. A framing analysis of 23 stakeholder interviews conducted in 2008–2009 was carried out by the authors. Place attachment was centred on holistic appreciation of the sandspit's special values. A widespread view that exercise of private property rights over the site was deeply problematic was informed by this appreciation. Community ties were enhanced by shared perceptions of a threat to the sandspit.