Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua have joined calls against a Far North District Council proposal, saying it could be seen as an unadulterated land grab.
They are also warning councils moving too fast on the classifcation of Significant Natural Areas or SNA's that they will no doubt find themselves in court with iwi fighting to have their decisions overturned.
Up to 40-percent of land in Te Tai Tokerau - almost half of it Māori-owned - may be reclassified as SNAs, to protect the high number of native plants and animals.
Māori opposing the council's approach say it undermines tino rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga rights.
Antony Thompson - general manager of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua told RNZ Māori News Director Māni Dunlop that some councils are moving too fast on this.