A group of hapu in Northland is claiming they own water that comes from springs which partly supply Whangarei.
The Whatitiri Maori Reserves Trust has taken the claim regarding Poroti Springs to the Waitangi Tribunal and is waiting for a hearing date.
The Whangarei District Council, an irrigation company and a water bottling company currently have consents to take water.
A trust spokesperson, Meryl Carter, says a Maori Land Court ruling that put Poroti Springs into the care of three hapu in 1895 is being ignored.
If the trust does get ownership of the stream, Ms Carter says, it will not try to stop people taking the water - but will consider reducing the length of consents given to companies.