The final shape of a Waitangi Tribunal hearing that involves everything from copyright laws to exclusive control over native species was being thrashed out by groups in Auckland yesterday.

A Waitangi Tribunal judicial conference heard arguments from all sides on exactly what issues and how many parties will have a say in the Wai 262 claim, sometimes referred to as the "grandfather" of all Treaty claims.

That's because it will cover not just Maori control over what happens to species such as kiwi or tuatara, but whether the Treaty has been breached by a raft of modern laws such as copyright.

It will also consider issues such as whether Government health policy has adversely affected knowledge of traditional Maori healing.

Some of the issues in the claim relate to more than 50 laws, from the Geothermal Energy Act to Crown Research Institutes Act to international treaties and agreements to which New Zealand is a signatory.

Six tribes from around the country are driving the claim: Te Rarawa, Ngati Kuri, Ngati Koata, Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungunu and Ngai Wai.

At the heart of the issue is whether modern laws impinged on Maori rights and therefore breached the Treaty of Waitangi.

Most of yesterday was spent in procedural arguments over the standing of "third party" groups who were not the principle claimants but who argue they should have full participation rights in the hearing, expected to begin early next year.