A Far North iwi has shut down its social services and ordered a special audit to probe into its "challenging financial circumstances".
The Te Aupouri Trust Board announced this morning that it has laid off 12 staff on the advice of its financial advisers.
The board is funded through property investments and holds government contracts for social work.
Trustee Henry Ihaka said the board was working with the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) to find new jobs for the social workers it had to let go.
"We're working closely with MSD to transition those people to new service providers. I understand that it is a bit of a stressful time for those people and we're working to reduce the impact on our people."
Mr Ihaka said he could not comment on reports the board had an unexplained funding shortfall of several hundred thousand dollars until auditors have investigated.
Te Aupouri is one of the five iwi who make up the Muriwhenua, or Te Hiku group.
It is due to receive its Treaty settlement next month.