Iwi leaders from Coromandel to Te Araroa near East Cape say the grounding of the container ship Rena has highlighted the need for changes to be made to several pieces of legislation.
The 47,000-tonne vessel ran aground on Astrolabe reef 22 kilometres off the coast of Tauranga on 5 October.
Ngai Te Rangi chairman Charlie Tawhiao, who is from Tauranga, says iwi are happy with the willingness of local and central government agencies to liaise with them in a meaningful and respectful way.
But he says wording in the Resource Management, Local Government and Maritime Transport acts limits the input by tangata whenua into cleanup operations.
Mr Tawhiao says Maori are confined to being just another stakeholder, whereas iwi believe they can provide leadership not just for their own people but whole communities.
He says iwi have conveyed their concerns to the Prime Minister.