Ngapuhi leader David Rankin has fired a broadside at the Waitangi Tribunal, which he accuses of being a bully, inventing history and delivering New Zealand into apartheid.

Mr Rankin (Te Matarahurahu hapu) said it might surprise many New Zealanders, but a growing number of Maori were fed up with the Tribunal, and the entire "Treaty gravy train".

"There is a stereotype of Maori collecting millions of dollars in settlement money and living the easy life. The reality is very different," he said.

"The Tribunal makes up history as it goes along. A growing number of New Zealand historians are pointing this out, although most of them are labelled as racist for doing so. Facts are omitted in Tribunal reports, and evidence is shaped in some cases to fit pre-determined outcomes."

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As an example, he had given evidence before the Tribunal about his ancestor Hone Heke, the first chief to sign the Treaty of Waitangi. However, because the whanau's oral history did not fit with the Tribunal's narrative, his testimony was excluded.

"Yet several radicals with little knowledge of our history had their testimony included because it fitted with the separatist agenda," he said.

"In the 1970s, many of us hoped that the Tribunal would be an organisation that would achieve reconciliation. It has turned out to be a body that is bringing in apartheid to New Zealand. This sounds dramatic, until you see how it advocates for race-based access to certain areas and race-based management policies for Crown land.

"Treaty settlements make tribal corporations rich, with the help of favourable tax status and often little or no rates to pay. So with these advantages it's pretty easy to become super-profitable," he added.

"But do you think the average Maori sees any benefit from this? None at all. I have been asked several times to be on trust boards, and have been offered large sums of money to do so. I refuse. History will judge the kupapa [traitors] who have abandoned our people for money."

The Tribunal was also a bully.

"Go against it, and you will be labelled a racist, or worse," he said.

"Yet who does it help? Apart from a few elite Maori who have become millionaires from the process, there is no benefit to Maori overall. Drive through Huntly or anywhere in Tuhoe and you won't find any evidence of these multi-hundred-million-dollar settlements.

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"Let's be clear. The Tribunal exists to make lawyers and a few elite Maori very rich. It has deprived our people from their birthright and divided and destroyed many of our communities. The sooner it is shut down the better."

The Tribunal was invited to respond but declined to do so.