A Far North iwi leader says anti-oil protesters, who disrupted a workshop in Kaitaia this week, are missing the point, which is to ensure tangata whenua are kept in the loop.
The meeting about oil exploration in the Reinga Basin ended abruptly when protesters over-turned the table at which officials from Norwegian company Statoil were seated.
The chairperson of Te Runanga o te Rarawa, Haami Piripi, who organised the meeting, said when the time came to argue about the drilling, iwi leaders as kaitiaki [guardians] had a responsibility to gather independent data.
"If we don't have that, we will be reliant on information from the company and the Government, both of which will be inherently unreliable because they have a vested interest", he said.
Mr Piripi said he was disappointed by what he calls the "thuggery" and bullying tactics of protesters, who hijacked the hui.