The Maori Council says iwi chairs need to do a better job of keeping hapu informed because they feel excluded from top level talks about water.
Bodies such as the Iwi Chairs Forum and the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group discuss water issues with Ministers and the Crown.
But Maori Council president Sir Graham Latimer says the larger iwi are not reporting back to sub-tribes.
Council member Pita Paraone is speaking on behalf of Sir Graham, who is unwell.
Mr Paraone says without feedback from high level discussions there is a fear that some individual hapu and iwi could be missing out on very important information that may affect their Treaty claims.