Waikato-Tainui says it's not fair that Tami Iti received the same jail sentence as a hunter who accidentally killed someone.
The iwi has come out in support of the Tuhoe kaumatua Tama Iti, who has been sentenced to prison for 2½ years for having firearms and molotov cocktails at camps near Ruatoki.
Chairperson of the tribe's executive Te Arataura, Tom Roa, says Iti hasn't killed anyone.
But he says Iti has been sentenced to jail for the same amount of time as Andrew Mears - the hunter who was convicted of the manslaughter of a school teacher at a campground near Turangi in 2010.
Mr Roa says it's incongruous that the Iti sentence is comparable to a loss of life after a person was shot and killed in the bush.
Mr Roa says he does not dispute the conviction of Iti, just the sentencing - which he says is over the top.
He says Iti has whakapapa (ancestral) links to Tainui - his mother's tribe.