The people of Ohiwa Harbour, near Whakatane, are considering going back to the Waitangi Tribunal to reinforce their fight to be removed from a treaty settlement.
The High Court has faulted the Waitangi Tribunal for its approach to declining urgent hearings for Te Upokorehe and Ngati Ruapani.
Both tribes have argued they would lose territory and rights under the Tuhoe settlement.
Te Upokorehe, in particular, asked the Waitangi Tribunal for an urgent hearing on three separate occasions. All three applications were declined.
The court has declared the actions of the tribunal invalid, because decisions made in relation to two applications were made without jurisdiction.
The tribes are yet to decide what to do with the ruling, and work out how it will benefit their arguments.
But members of Te Upokorehe are considering going back to the Waitangi Tribunal to reinforce their fight to be removed from the Tuhoe settlement, which they fear will mean losing mana whenua rights to fishing.
Descendant Kahukore Baker said the Government should take action and that Te Upokorehe had shown it was an iwi in its own right - something recognised by the Crown in 1870s.
The Government needed to take a good look at how the Treaty of Waitangi process was running into controversy nationwide and was becoming adversarial, she said.
Judge Joe Williams said claims always attracted controversy, especially when the proposed settlement was not marked by whakapapa connection but instead by lines on a map.
Te Upokorehe is in the Ohope area of eastern Bay of Plenty and is made up of five sub-tribes, while Ngati Ruapani has its territory around Lake Waikaremoana in Te Urewera.
Both tribes have been awarded costs.