Consider this scenario:
You're the Makuta of a remote southern island. You have a decent population of Matoran and Rahi, but don't tend to get many outside visitors... In fact, The Brotherhood is more or less content with the fact that you're holding land for them.
You've spent the last few thousand years treating the local villagers with respect and performing your original function; to moderate and secure the inhabitants of the MU. You may not be regarded as a hero, but you've kept the population of your island safe and relatively comfortable.
All you'd have to do would be survive Teridax's reign while he's in control of the MU, and you'd get off scot free.