Tainui boycotted the government's first consultation hui on water rights and only about 25 representatives from other iwi turned up, it has been reported.
Finance Minister Bill English flew to Hamilton on Tuesday night to talk to four iwi about the partial privatisation of energy companies and the Waitangi Tribunal's idea of "shares plus" for Maori.
Mr English said he wasn't concerned about the poor turnout, Radio New Zealand reported.
Tainui had earlier indicated it would boycott the hui and Prime Minister John Key said he wasn't worried about the iwi's decision.
A national hui held last Thursday decided on a pan-Maori approach to water rights, which should be defined before individual iwi talked to the government.
The "shares plus" concept would give Maori shares in partially privatised energy companies carrying rights above and beyond those of other shareholders.
The government says that isn't acceptable, but it agreed to discuss "shares plus" with iwi which have interests in the water used by the hydro stations.
It says iwi might have ideas which haven't been raised so far, and it is willing to listen.
Mr Key says consulting Maori will strengthen the government's case if the Maori Council seeks a High Court injunction to stop asset sales before water rights are settled.
The Hamilton hui was the first of six on Mr English's agenda through to September 27.