The Maori Council says it is not surprised it is excluded in an agreement between the government and iwi leaders to define Maori freshwater rights.
The council was the original architect of the Maori freshwater claims, which went to the Waitangi Tribunal and eventually the Supreme Court.
The Prime Minister John Key said the Government maintained its position that no-one owned the water.
However, he said the Government has conceded in the Supreme Court that Maori did have some genuine rights and interests in water and that needed to be worked through.
The council's co-chair Maanu Paul said it was prepared to work with iwi leaders.
The Crown was trying to play the iwi leaders against the Maori Council.
But he said it would not succeed, like it planned, to say that nobody owns the water.