Bay of Plenty iwi and hapu have lodged a request for more time to gather evidence in opposition to leaving Rena on Astrolabe Reef, citing a lack of funding and notice.
Motiti Rohe Moana Trust, Nga Potiki a Tamapahore Trust, Te Runanga i Ngati Awa, and Te Patuwai Tribal submitted a joint memorandum to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council on Wednesday for an extension to the lodgement of evidence.
Tama Hovell, counsel for Nga Potiki a Tamapahore Trust, said the key point for the request was that resourcing for the iwi submission had only just been confirmed.
"They just haven't had the capacity to prepare expert evidence," Mr Hovell said.
"Given the significance of the issue, it's important that full information be provided."
The group's request follows resource consent applications to abandon Rena on the seabed. The group, known as The Astrolabe Community Trust, sought to extend their deadline to lodge evidence against that, and allow additional time for rebuttal evidence, to July 14.
The memorandum was signed by counsels and representatives for all four hapu and iwi. In the memorandum, the group stated several reasons for the extension, including "significant difficulties with the funding recommendations".
"Two funds were created, both $100,000 plus GST. The funds were underfunded and some expert witnesses were excluded from funding."
The request states the approved funding bore no relationship to the resourcing required, and as a result submitters struggled to take part in the hearings process because they did not have sufficient funds to meet legal, expert witness and disbursement costs.
"Because of the significant funding constraints, the submitters' evidence will be limited in scope at this stage of the hearings process and will not address all relevant cultural and other effects," the request states.
The request also said the applicant lodged several briefs out of time. "There were significant delays in the Crown putting a funding proposal forward. A recommendation in relation to part-funding ... was only notified to the submitters on June 18, 2015, and was subject to execution of deed of funding."
Motiti Rohe Moana Trust only received its deed of funding on Tuesday, the memorandum states.
"This has had consequential impacts on the ability for the submitters to engage counsel and experts on work within the required timeframes," the request said.
Buddy Mikaere, who had campaigned for the removal of the wreck on behalf of Motiti Island iwi, said the extension would allow them time to engage with overseas salvage experts and scientists.
"A lot of those people actually don't live in New Zealand so this is time to negotiate with them."