Possible areas of Government responsibility which could be transferred to Tuhoe have been outlined as both the Crown and tribe try to keep a handle on delicate negotiations.

About 40 iwi members and the tribal body mandated to drive negotiations, Te Kotahi a Tuhoe, met the Crown to hear its first offer of settlement in Wellington yesterday.

Keen to keep a lid on public opinion, neither side, including Treaty Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson, would comment publicly.

However, a Tuhoe newsletter to iwi members outlined a situation where the tribe is making headway on mana motuhake or self-government issues, one of two pillars negotiations rest on.

Te Maunga Express reported that Government functions which could be devolved to Tuhoe included health, building, education, local government and the environment.

Other functions such as tourism, justice, welfare, culture, arts and heritage, taxation and Maori development have been classified "as more complex due to the interconnectedness of public function".

However, "both negotiating parties acknowledge these functions are fundamental to a self-governing iwi".

Another key issue is Tuhoe's desire to own the 212,672ha Te Urewera National Park.

Iwi have told negotiators that nothing less than ownership will be a satisfactory outcome.

But in terms of national assets, the Crown has never bent so far, nor is it clear that it will. In Ngai Tahu's settlement, the tribe received Mt Cook's title before the tribe gifted it back to the Crown, while Tainui has co-management rights over the Waikato River but not ownership.

However, the Express noted the Crown and the Department of Conservation had "met internally to clearly establish the legal and political issues they face for a transferred relationship". Yesterday, Conservation Minister Tim Groser would not comment.

In other iwi communications, Te Kotahi a Tuhoe trustee Iharaira Temara posted messages on naumaiplace.com urging tribal members to consider the offer as a starting point. There was still much bartering to be done, he said.

"It should also be mentioned, the 'first offer' from the Crown is not normally an attractive offer, and in most cases reflects their lowest or minimum offer to iwi, however ... if necessary, we will have recourse to negotiate further with the Crown for a better offer."

A faction of Tuhoe - Te Umutaoroa - which does not want Te Kotahi to negotiate on its behalf, met Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia and Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell yesterday in Waiohau.

The group later said it felt "positive" that progress was being made.