Members of several groups planning to take action on dirty rivers say they are sad that Northland's river patrol man Millan Ruka has chosen to distance himself from them.
Mr Ruka spoke at a meeting in Wellington last weekend, about setting up a national network of river patrol groups.
But he has now asked those leading the meeting to resign from his organisation, Environmental River Patrol Aotearoa, saying they were not committed to following his kaupapa.
Coromandel film-maker James Muir, who chaired the meeting, says a national network needs to be driven by the voices of the community, not by one person with total control.
But he says he has immense respect for Mr Ruka and hopes he will continue to advise the new network.
Mr Muir says in contrast to concerns expressed by Mr Ruka, the organisers of the river patrol network will not be taking a confrontational approach to their task.