A Maori law specialist says it may be getting too late for Maori to press their claims for water.
Maori Law Review editor Tom Bennion is speaking in Wellington on Monday at an indigenous legal water forum organised by Otago University's law school.
He says even a decade ago there seemed to be enough water for everyone, but pressure from farmers, power generators and other major water users means water resources are now hotly contested.
Mr Bennion told Waatea News that Maori interests could be overlooked unless they push for an overhaul of the law.
Those at the forum include Ngai Tahu strategy manager Sacha McMeeking and Waikato University law lecturer Linda te Aho who will speak on co-management of the Waikato River. Other speakers are from Canada, the United States and Australia.