Director of Kaupapa Maori at Rotorua district council Mauriora Kingi, says if iwi want Maori wards - they will have to lobby for them.
He says tangata whenua should make the decision on whether to set up Maori wards.
Mr Kingi says legislation requires that any establishment of Maori seats is made by the current councillors, who would need to consult with residents two years before the local body election.
But he says if iwi want a ballot held for Maori residents to consider Maori wards they do have an option.
He says they can write to council expressing what they want, as well as gain support through Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell.