A trustee on the board working for a Ngapuhi Treaty settlement says it must not get sidetracked by the woes of its former chairman Sonny Tau.
Tau last week pleaded guilty to hunting protected kererū and also faces a new charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
Te Whiu hapu spokesman Sam Napia said Tau had done some great things for the iwi and it was very sad to see him before the courts.
But the bigger issue was the settlement, which the Crown has warned could be derailed if the board Tuhorounuku cannot convince more hapu to join it and strengthen its mandate.
A small team from Tuhoronuku has been tasked with meeting disaffected hapu, but every trustee should be doing his or her utmost to engage with them, Mr Napia said.
If they cannot be convinced to join, the settlement process may have to be stopped.
Hokianga hapu which have boycotted Tuhoronuku were meeting on Saturday to discuss whether they would join, and on what terms.
Mr Napia missed out by one vote on becoming the chairman of Tuhoronuku in September when Sonny Tau stood down over the kererū incident.
Auckland University senior lecturer Hone Sadler was voted in as leader, with 11 of 21 votes.