The Auckland Council says only 36 bids to carry out work on sites of cultural value have been identified by local iwi, which need further scrutiny, something that's surprised the authority.
That is out of a total of 300 applications in the past year to March.
The involvement of the 19 local iwi is through the council's rule book, the Proposed Unitary Plan, which required the tribes to play a part in the cultural impact assessments.
The council's chief planning officer Roger Blakeley said the process provided an assurance that it was doing what was needed.
He said an inventory provided an idea about areas, which were cultural sites, but suggested only iwi could say how significant they were.
Dr Blakeley said the proposed unitary plan identified 3600 sites of value to mana whenua based on a cultural heritage inventory compiled by the previous Auckland Regional Council.
He said the 36 applications covered areas such as earthworks within areas significant to Maori, the clearing of indigenous vegetation sites, and discharging stormwater.