Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little is hopeful a new proposal will win enough support from Ngāpuhi to get its Treaty settlement negotiations back on track.
Little said the proposal was something the Crown had not tried in a settlement before.
It would involve negotiating cultural redress directly with groupings of hapū but holding iwi-wide negotiations for the wider settlement, including land returns other than wāhi tapu [sacred sites] and monetary redress for historic breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.
He said that was partly because many Ngāpuhi lived outside the region and many did not know what hapū they affiliated to.
"In terms of trusteeship of the value of the redress, you can't be a trustee of something when you don't know who your beneficiaries are."
He said there was a limited amount of land available to be returned in the settlement, and doing so on a hapū basis rather than iwi-wide would result in uneven results. "That would compound the problems of poverty and inequality that we have got."
Over the weekend he will hold hui around Northland followed by further hui in other parts of the country over the next few weeks to try to get the negotiations under way again.
He said the proposal showed what was possible, but it was up to Ngāpuhi to make it happen.
In something of a breakthrough, representatives from both Tūhoronuku and Te Kotahitanga will take part after years of being at loggerheads over who should negotiate the settlement.