A member of the Mana Party says a New Zealand man intentionally joined an illegal voyage to Antarctica to perform a ceremony for a friend who died on a polar expedition last year.
The yacht skippered by Norwegian adventurer Jarle Andhoy is on a mission to find the remains of another yacht, the Berserk, thought to have sunk in McMurdo Sound.
Three crew members died a year ago when it disappeared, while Mr Andhoy, 34, and companion Samuel Massie made an attempt to reach the South Pole by quad bike without authorisation.
Mr Andhoy had said New Zealander Busby Noble was accidentally on board the Nilaya when he sailed from Auckland on 23 January this year after being served with a deportation notice.
He does not have the correct permits to enter the Antarctic this time either.
Mana Party member Kereama Pene says he has been in contact with Mr Noble, a party activist and a friend of one of the men who drowned.
Mr Pene told Radio New Zealand on Sunday that Mr Noble approached him before the yacht left Auckland to ask for a flag to plant and an appropriate prayer to say for his friend.
"He took down one of the Mana flags and said he would put it in the Antarctic and claim Maori sovereignty over the Antarctic.
"They've honoured the friends of the captain, and his friend that passed away last year, and ... I guess to prove a point that the Antarctic should be the property of all people and not just an exclusive few."
Kereama Pene says the Nilaya has reached the ice around Antarctica and will head back to New Zealand in a few days.
Mr Pene says Mana Party leader Hone Harawira was aware of Busby Noble's plans before the yacht set sail.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully was not available for comment on Sunday.