Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau has rejected a plan by a Crown negotiator to unify warring factions in the iwi's massive land claim.
The Government appointed Waikato negotiator Tukoroirangi Morgan to mediate between dissenting hapu and the runanga led by Mr Tau over the mandate to settle the claim.
His draft solution includes a new mandated authority, with a majority of hapu members, to manage the negotiations.
But Mr Tau says Mr Morgan's suggestions are unacceptable. He says Ngapuhi voted overwhelmingly last year to give the runanga's committee, Tuhoronuku, the mandate to settle the claim.
He says there are small pockets of resistance, but Ngapuhi say it is not for Mr Morgan nor the Crown to dictate what the iwi should do.
The northern iwi claims are the most numerous and complex ever lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal and have an estimated settlement value of at least $160 million.