Disagreement between Ngatiwai members, including a fight after its annual meeting, could lead to an urgency hearing to challenge the iwi's recently Crown-approved Deed of Mandate.
Ngatiwai last week had its deed of mandate approved by the Crown to negotiate the iwi's Treaty of Waitangi claims, but some claimants have told the Northern Advocate disagreement between whanau could lead to an urgency hearing into the mandate.
I could not comment [on the fight] but ... there was very robust conversation about issues.
The comment comes after the iwi's annual meeting on Saturday at the Whangarei Terenga Paraoa Marae was followed by a fight outside the marae between whanau. It came after Ngatiwai Trust Board chairman Haydn Edmonds reportedly closed the hui early.
Mr Edmonds disputes claims he stifled debate, saying the length of the hui, which was held from 10am to 2pm, was appropriate.
Ngatiwai claimant Rowan Tautari said some felt the hui was closed early.
Ms Tautari said the problem with marae trustees was that some marae did not have physical buildings and some whanau missed opportunities to become representatives as some marae chairs were putting themselves forward. Ms Tautari said she could already see similarities between Ngatiwai and what has played out in Ngapuhi.
Hapu of Ngapuhi who opposed Tuhoronuku's mandate went to the Waitangi Tribunal for an urgency hearing - with many of their concerns upheld - and Ms Tautari said the same thing could happen in Ngatiwai.
"We have claimants who were well involved with Te Kotahitanga (the group opposing Tuhoronuku). So they are experts when it comes to that urgency process. I don't want it to come to that."
Mr Edmonds said he would not be surprised if claimants called for an urgency hearing, but he believed the AGM went well and said if time for questions lasted any longer the hui would have continued for hours.
"I could not comment [on the fight] but during the meeting there was very robust conversation about issues - there are always people who have to have the last say," he said.
Of the 2735 voting papers that were issued by Ngatiwai about the mandate 772 votes were cast, giving a 28.2 per cent participation rate. Of these votes, 82 per cent were in favour of the Ngatiwai Trust Board's mandate proposal.
Terahingahinga Reti, a Ngatiwai kuia, hasn't missed a Ngatiwai AGM and said Saturday's hui was the most orderly she had attended.