After much preparation, the Mōkai Pātea Waitangi Claims Trust is about to ask four Taihape iwi for mandate to represent them in Treaty of Waitangi claims.
The trust begins a series of hui on June 15, in Taihape and Whanganui. They continue to Porirua, Turangi and Taradale and finish in Auckland on June 23.
The hui were to inform members of the tribe about the mandate strategy, and to give everyone over 18 a chance to vote, trust chairman Utiku Potaka said.
The trust has taken the unusual step of opening voting to tribal members who are not registered with it, and may not want to be. Those people can make a special vote, stating their whakapapa (connection to the iwi). Their votes will be referred to knowledgeable people for verification.
The Taihape Inquiry Area has another group hoping to represent the claims of its people: the Ngāti Hinemanu me Ngāti Paki Heritage Trust. Its members also affiliate to the four Mōkai Pātea iwi - Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Tamakōpiri, Ngāti Whitikaupeka and Ngāi Te Ohuake.
Ngāti Hinemanu me Ngāti Paki chairman Jordan Winiata had been informed of the upcoming mandate hui, Potaka said.
"We are doing our best to include everyone. That's the key difference between our trust and theirs."
The voting will start on June 10, and end on July 8. It's being handled by Independent Election Services Ltd.
Potaka is keen to hear from everyone, even if they don't give mandate.
"If it's against the motion, that's fine. We need to hear that."
If the trust doesn't get mandate it would be "back to the drawing board", he said.
Tribes in the Taihape Inquiry Area will be some of the last in New Zealand to reach treaty settlement.
But they had spent the last 40 years developing hapū, iwi and marae and forming tribal representative bodies, Potaka said.
That focus will continue after settlement.