The board representing Maori in Auckland has formally filed papers with the High Court asking it to declare unlawful a decision by Auckland Council to cut its funding.
The Independent Statutory Maori Board is seeking a judicial review next week of both the funding row and the extent of its role on council committees.
The council unanimously voted to fund the board's first full year with $3.4 million, a week later cut that to less than $2 million.
The board was created during Auckland's local body amalgamation and can have up to two voting members on council committees.
It wants the court to declare the funding cut unlawful, to rule that it can co-opt outsiders to represent it on committees, and order the council to urgently conclude the funding agreement required by law.