Tauranga iwi and hapu have mobilised members to help authorities deal with any oil that washes ashore from the grounded cargo ship Rena in the Bay of Plenty.
Tangata whenua on Motiti Island are waiting to give officials advice on tides and currents.
On Matakana Island, locals are removing debris from the shoreline, to clear the way for any oil cleanup that needs to be done.
Ngai te Rangi runanga chair Charlie Tawhiao, says he has heard from an expert involved in an oil spill around Australia's Great Barrier Reef who has warned to watch for the effects of pollution in fish, or ika.
The expert says people will know if the fish is not right, because fishers will be able to smell the fuel that might be ingested.