Bay of Plenty iwi Te Arawa says iwi consultation to open mining tenders in the region seems like a token gesture because Maori sacred sites weren't removed from the zone.
New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals spoke to 99 iwi groups before agreeing to seek tenders for exploration permits in the central North Island Volcanic Zone.
It says it didn't exclude any wahi tapu identified by iwi during consultation because their concerns would be dealt with through the Resource Management Act.
Te Arawa Coalition - which was formed as a response to the tenders - opposed the idea altogether.
Facilitator Te Taru White says it makes a mockery out of the consultation to say they've considered the areas of cultural significance and decided to leave it to the RMA.
He says that makes the process seem like a token gesture, but says the iwi is prepared to face the challenge within the Act.