Iwi north of Auckland to the Bay of Islands are banding together to support an appeal by Forest & Bird against the Northland Regional Council (NRC) Regional Plan which is adopting 'significant ecological areas' (SEAs).
The move follows widespread protests throughout Northland last month against similar designations on Māori land.
SEAs are determined under the Resource Management Act and give councils control over designated areas, including fishing regulations with the aim of retaining indigenous species.
But the iwi-supported appeal says stronger methods are needed than are granted under the act.
One iwi, Ngāti Wai, believes councils have no capacity to manage fishing or fisheries enforcement and is concerned the RMA lacks the flexibility needed for tangata whenua control.
Te Ao Mārama talked to Ngāti Wai leader Aperahama Edwards about the iwi's position.