The chief negotiator for Tuhoe says veteran activist Tame Iti has been instrumental in advancing negotiations between the iwi and the Crown over the ownership of Te Urewera National Park.
Tame Iti, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey are charged with participating in an organised crime group and firearm offences in relation to police raids in the Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Wellington in 2007.
All accused pleaded not guilty when the trial began at the Auckland High Court in February.
Tuhoe spokesperson Tamati Kruger told the court on Thursday that Mr Iti has been instrumental in advancing negotiations between the iwi and the Crown over the ownership of Te Urewera
Mr Kruger also said Tuhoe was in negotiations to provide security work for two key forest plantations in Bay of Plenty two months before the mass arrests in October 2007.
Mr Kruger says the iwi was granted the security contracts despite the arrests.
Witness Rau Hunt had previously told the court that he taught the group how to look for explosives under vehicles and how a VIP convoy operates, because they were planning on launching a security company overseas.
Mr Hunt, who is seen in surveillance footage of the camps, was originally facing the same charges as the four accused, but they were dropped last year.
Community aware of activity in park, court told
Mr Kruger told the court the local community was aware that there were training camps operating in the national park.
He said most people had no concerns about the activity, but there was a very small group who weren't happy about it.
Mr Kruger also says that most people in the community would posess firearms, but he believes less than half would hold licenses for them.