A Kawhia hapu says a refusal by the Government to toughen protections for marine animals will be the death knell for Maui's dolphin.
Waatea News reports just over 100 of the dolphins remain in their natural range along the west coast of the North Island.
A Marine Animals Protection Law Reform Bill, proposed by the Green Party, has been voted down by National and ACT MPs. It would have required population management plans for endangered mammals and birds.
Davis Apiti from Ngati Te Wehi is now resigned to losing the dolphin, saying it will be extinct within the next 15 years. He told Waatea News that Ngati Te Wehi still wants a complete ban on gill netting in Aotea Harbour to offer some sanctuary to the dolphin.