The chief negotiator for Tuhoe says it was no secret that training camps were operating in Te Urewera National Park.
Tamati Kruger was giving evidence in the High Court at Auckland in support of Tame Iti and three others, who are accused of participating in a criminal group and illegally possessing firearms.
Mr Kruger says it was widely accepted by people in Ruatoki and Taneatua that Mr Iti and a number of other people were conducting exercises in the nearby Te Urewera national park.
He told the jury he thought the group was teaching people how to live in the bush, how to use guns, and how to conduct security guard work.
He also said more than half of Tuhoe people that own guns would not hold the required licence.
The lawyer for Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara has decided not to call evidence, but the lawyer for his co-accused Urs Signer will open his defence from Monday.
The lawyer representing the fourth accused, Emily Bailey, refused to reveal whether witnesses will be called in her defence.