A Ngaruahine iwi leader has come out in support of protesters who caused the Hawera District Court to be closed last week.
The iwi authority's chair, Hori Manuirirangi, said he backed Patricia and Kylee Green, who face charges relating to the theft of seismic survey markers belonging to Shell Todd.
The women refused to co-operate at their appearance, the court was cleared and five people were arrested after their supporters fought with the police.
Mr Manuirirangi said concerns raised by the women go back to when land was confiscated in the 1860s and never returned.
"The seismic is just another problem, as far as our people are concerned. That land was actually stolen from our people, by the Crown and through legislation.
Mr Manuirirangi said the women's protest action echoed those of the 1880s, when Maori removed survey pegs and continued to plough confiscated land.