The biggest tribe in the country, Ngapuhi, is deadlocked over how to handle its massive Treaty of Waitangi claim, and appears to be headed for the High Court.
Despite opposition, the iwi's runanga-led roopu Tuhoronuku plans a series of mandating hui beginning next month, to start the process of direct negotiation with the Crown.
Tuhoronuku says most Ngapuhi want the $170 million claim settled, but hapu are threatening legal action if the hui are held.
Pita Tipene, of the hapu organisation Te Kotahitanga, says if Tuhoronuku won't back down, hapu will go to the High Court.
Mr Tipene says hapu want the Ngapuhi land claims dealt with before negotiating a Treaty settlement, and they want a lot more than a token presence on Tuhoronuku.