One of the country's biggest iwi says police and the whole of New Zealand are lucky there were no reprisals due to police raids in Te Urewera and how they were handled.
Waikato-Tainui says the two-and-a-half year sentence given to Tame Iti of Tuhoe last week is outrageous and disproportionate to the firearms crime he was convicted of.
Iti and another accused were found guilty at a jury trial for possessing firearms and restricted weapons - namely, a Molotov cocktail - and are serving their sentence in Auckland's Mt Eden Prison.
Waikato-Tainui says it is speaking out because Iti's mother is from Tainui.
The chair of the tribe's executive Te Arataura, Tom Roa, says the restraint shown by the people of Tuhoe is to be highly commended.
He says they are bush people who have weapons as part of their bush culture and some hot head could have sought a reprisal - but he is grateful that did not happen.
Mr Roa says he himself would have been hard to restrain if his children had been frightened by armed police as happened in the Ruatoki Valley raids in 2007.
He says Waikato-Tainui stands with Tuhoe, whanau supporting whanau.