Ngati Kahu are pointing fingers at the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, saying he is the reason the iwi have not yet settled Treaty claims.

The comments come after minister Chris Finlayson told media Ngati Kahu needed to take a look at their current leadership if they wanted to progress their claims.

Mr Finlayson said a comprehensive offer was put in front of iwi and he urged leaders to consider what was best for Ngati Kahu.

But Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngati Kahu chairwoman Margaret Mutu said Mr Finlayson had no right to interfere with structures and that leaders were acting on the wishes of elders and hapu.


"I wouldn't order them to change the leader of the National Party," she said.

"In 1995 we had clear instructions from our elders of what a full and final settlement would look like and that is what we have pursued. I'm not sure my generation will get there but the next generation will and we will fight for as long as we can," said Ms Mutu.

Hohepa Rameka of Kareponia Marae said Mr Finlayson was the reason why Treaty settlement had not been achieved.

"The failure to achieve a settlement is down to the Government and this Minister ... and not due to any failures or fault by Ngati Kahu or the Runanga and its leadership."

The iwi has gone to court to fight decisions made by the Waitangi Tribunal not to grant binding recommendations - which are orders for the Crown to return certain land to Maori. One application saw the High Court order the Waitangi Tribunal to reconsider Ngati Kahu's claim and a separate application is currently in the Court of Appeal.

Mr Mutu claimed Mr Finlayson's comments regarding Ngati Kahu leadership stemmed from the Government's frustration the iwi had stood up for what they believed in, rather than just accepting the offer put in front of them.

"They [claimants] have been working on claims for nearly 30 years and they were pretty upset that Finlayson had targeted me," she said.

A spokeswoman for Mr Finlayson told the Advocate Mr Finlayson supported Ngati Kahu.


"The Crown supports the aspiration of Ngati Kahu for a fair settlement of their historical claims. The Crown made a comprehensive offer to Ngati Kahu based on the Waitangi Tribunal's directions in 2013. This offer includes commercial and cultural redress that is not available through binding recommendations. This offer remains available to Ngati Kahu."

Timoti Flavell, head claimant for Ngati Kahu, was doubtful the iwi would receive a fair settlement.

"Ngati Kahu will never receive a fair offer to settle claims under the current Government and not with the current minister for Treaty negotiations."