The author of a new history of Tuhoe says autonomy for the Urewera area is not a far-fetched idea.
Judith Binney's book Encircled Lands covers the history of the tribe from 1820 to 1921, including the period of the rohe potae when the iwi was supposed to have self government within Te Urewera.
She says it remains a core element in the way Ngai Tuhoe see themselves, and it's sure to be part of the current Treaty settlement negotiations.
"There is very clear evidence tracking through of the way in which they have consistently held for this and had this for a long period of time," she says.
"I think it is reasonable that they could develop a form of self-government in negotiation which would not threaten any of us."
Judith Binney says countries like Spain have shown it is possible to have regional self-government within a democratic national structure.