Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little has announced he is ready to sign the controversial Pare Hauraki Collective Redress Deed.
The decision has been welcomed by Pare Hauraki but a Ngāi Te Rangi leader says he's shocked.
Tauranga iwi, led by Ngāi Te Rangi, have protested the settlement, which they say will give Hauraki iwi mana whenua status in Tauranga.
In May, Little put off signing after Tauranga Māori marched on Parliament to demand the Crown make way for a tikanga Māori process to settle disputes between Tauranga Moana and Hauraki iwi.
He was warned that signing the deed would be "taking us [iwi] to war".
On Thursday Little said, in a statement, he had heard the strong concerns and allowed "a fair amount of time" for the parties to provide him with more information.
Read more: Andrew Little gives Ngāi Te Rangi iwi more time for Hauraki submissions
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"I received full and direct views from the iwi. This process resulted in amendments provided to Pare Hauraki Iwi.
"I acknowledge the Waitangi Tribunal's finding of Hauraki interests in Tauranga Moana, Te Puna - Katikati blocks. Agreements were reached in good faith between the Pare Hauraki Collective and Tauranga Moana iwi between 2012–2014.
"Advancing these settlements is a vital step in coming to terms with our history and making reparation for past injustices. It's time to move ahead and allow Pare Hauraki ... to settle their historical claims," he said.
Ngāi Te Rangi iwi trust chief executive Paora Stanley said the minister's announcement came as a shock.
"It came out of the blue. We thought we were making progress," he said.
The Kīngitanga had been acting as an intermediary for discussions between the two iwi groups, he said, and Stanley believed that was working.
He said Ngāi Te Rangi was prepared for this eventuality but wanted to see a copy of the finalised settlement and other relevant information before deciding its next move, which could involve taking legal action.
The Minister's decision was welcomed by Hauraki Collective chairman and lead negotiator Paul Majurey.
He said the signing came nearly 40 years after the original Hauraki claims were lodged and nearly 10 years of Crown negotiations.
"We welcome the Minister's decision. It is the honourable one.
"Ripping up agreements and trying to deny their existence with theatrics and threats is not tikanga.
"Respectful discussions, respect for others' opinions and world views, and honouring face to face agreements is tikanga. We have honoured every agreement made during the many years of Treaty negotiations."
He said the settlement arrangements for the Tauranga Moana harbour and catchments via the Tauranga Moana Framework were not included in the collective settlement.
"Once the deed is formally signed, Pare Hauraki will be ready for face-to-face talks with our Tauranga Moana relations in a mutually respectful environment on how to progress the Tauranga Moana Framework."