One of the people leading the Nga Puhi land claims has warned against allowing the Nga Puhi runanga to drive the settlement.
Giving evidence at Waitangi Tribunal hearings, Dr Patu Hohepa received loud applause when he told the tribunal the hapu of Nga Puhi are in charge of the claims process, and the people will desert leaders who do not listen to them.
Dr Hohepa is one of four kaumatua presenting the iwi's overarching claim, that the Treaty of Waitangi did not extinguish the Maori sovereignty proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence.
Some Nga Puhi hapu are opposed to giving the runanga the mandate to manage their land claims, saying it is a vehicle set up by the Government, and is therefore unsuitable.
The Nga Puhi runanga, or governing council, manages the iwi's fisheries quota and its website says it has overwhelming support for its settlement committee to seek the mandate to settle the claims.
Prominent Nga Puhi elder and runanga member Titewhai Harawira has backed the runanga, telling claimants it is the only elected body capable of co-ordinating those claims and their settlement.