Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has been warned about Ngapuhi Runanga moves perceived as hijacking control over the tribe's Treaty settlement, expected to be worth more than $170 million.
The Te Kotahitanga group has urged Mr Finlayson to listen to hapu to ensure a speedy and united pathway for Ngapuhi to settle their Treaty claims.
"It would be a waste of Ngapuhi and taxpayer resources to head down a settlement path that leads nowhere, or even worse to further conflict between the Crown and Ngapuhi," Te Kotahitanga co-chairman Pita Tipene said in a letter sent to the minister last week.
The Te Kotahitanga group, which represents Ngapuhi hapu, said it had participated in three processes the minister had initiated to reconcile differences between it and the runanga's Tuhoronuku committee, which claims to have obtained a mandate for direct settlement negotiations with the Crown.
The reconciliation efforts had culminated with the Tuku Morgan report, "but have been thwarted at every turn by the Ngapuhi Runanga who have moved quickly to disrupt any efforts that might reduce their control of the settlement process," the Te Kotahitanga letter says.
Runanga chairman and Tuhoronuku interim chairman Sonny Tau has rejected the Morgan report and the runanga this month changed its rules so it could become the post-settlement governance entity and elected runanga representatives could remain in office longer than the previous restriction of nine years.
Mr Tipene said significant issues the hapu had raised had been ignored by the minister and Tuhoronuku.
"Our concerns are about building a fair and inclusive settlement process for Ngapuhi, that is transparent and open, and will ensure standard protection mechanisms are in place for iwi and hapu settlement resources well into the future."
An independent Digipoll by TVNZ's Te Karere had found 70.3 per cent of Ngapuhi were unaware of Tuhoronuku's drive for a mandate, Mr Tipene said.
Of the 27.7 per cent aware of the mandate, only 27.6 per cent of them supported the work, while 45.5 per cent supported Te Kotahitanga to lead Ngapuhi settlement claims.
In addition, only 29,000 Ngapuhi had been sent voting packs, out of an estimated total population of 140,000, and only 6800 participated in the mandating process.
"Only 3.9 per cent of Ngapuhi voted to support this purported mandate, raising far too many concerns about any potential settlement," Mr Tipene said.