Whanganui iwi say their unique relationship with the Whanganui River is more important than the Crown's consultation meetings about water rights connected to the sale of shares in power stations.
The Government met with Whanganui iwi on Wednesday.
Whanganui iwi Treaty negotiator Gerrard Albert says its first priority is for the Government to legally recognise what the river means to tangata whenua.
He says defining what their ancestral awa means to Whanganui river descendants is fundamental.
Mr Albert says his iwi has a long and deep connection to the river and regard it as a living entity.
He says ownership issues and proprietary interests still need to be sorted out with the Crown.