Mediation to resolve a dispute over a proposed housing development on Matakana Island has, so far, failed.
The Environment Court last year allowed 100 houses to be built in clusters on the island in Tauranga Harbour but most residents do not want the development.
Matakana hapū representative Jason Murray said mediation with developers TKC Holdings and Carrus Corporation had failed to ease their concerns that building would take place on wāhi tapu areas including pā sites.
"We said, 'well, are you willing to sort of drop the amount of houses, and to position your houses in places that don't have cultural sensitivitiy and environmental sensitivity', and they said no.
"So we said 'oh well, we'll you in court because that seems to be the only place where we can defend our values."
Mr Murray said there may be further mediation in September, but it was likely the group would go back to the Environment Court next year to challenge the status of the land.