Ngai Tahu is opposing a fresh bid by Christchurch City Council to discharge treated wastewater into Akaroa Harbour for 25 years.
The council is appealing to the Environment Court against a 10 July decision by independent commissioners to decline its application.
As part of a major upgrade of Akaroa's waste water system, the council had applied for a new terminal pump station, a new wastewater treatment plant and wastewater outfall into Akaroa Harbour. All applications except the outfall and harbour discharge were granted.
Ngai Tahu, Onuku Runanga, Wairewa Runanga and the Akaroa Taiapure Management Committee have lodged a notice with the court opposing the council's appeal.
Ngai Tahu chair Mark Solomon said the original decision acknowledged the cultural and environmental concerns Ngai Tahu had for the harbour.
"The decision was great news for Akaroa, for the health and sustainability of mahinga kai and for the overall health of the harbour."
Mr Solomon said the four Ngai Tahu parties were seeking a land based alternative for wastewater disposal.
"We have five years before the council has to implement the whole of its revised wastewater upgrade, so we have plenty of time to find a land-based solution that suits all parties." Mr Soloman said.
Council water and waste unit engineer Mike Bourke said appealing the decision enabled mediation with iwi to find an outcome everyone was pleased with.
"We have looked at land discharge over several years with a working group in Akaroa, and although we think it is possible, there is too much water for the land to handle."
Mr Bourke said about 250 cubic square metres of water was discharged from Akaroa a day.
"We are doing research at the moment with Lincoln University looking at application rates on the soils around Akaroa, so we can have a better understanding of how the land would handle the wastewater."
He said the council had already started gathering information on all non-harbour discharge options so when they sat down with the runanga they could work out what option to take forward and investigate.