By AUDREY YOUNG

Talks were being held last night to try to avert legal action to postpone tomorrow's signing of the Ngati Awa deed of settlement with the Crown.

The Tuhoe-Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board gave notice yesterday that it planned to seek an interim injunction today in the High Court at Wellington preventing the signing until its own legal challenge to the settlement is heard in early May.

The Office of Treaty Settlements and Crown Law were understood to be trying to dissuade the board from proceeding.

The board has a cross-claim on lands in the Matahina blocks of Kaingaroa Forest which are part of the Ngati Awa settlement.

The board failed in a High Court bid last year to seek a judicial review on what was then a provisional decision on the disputed land.

It appealed against that decision and the case is set down for May 7 and 8.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson said the trust board's interests were protected in a supplementary deed to be signed by the Crown and Ngati Awa agreeing that the deed of settlement was conditional on the outcome of the appeal.

Ngati Awa's head of commercial negotiations, Paul Quinn, agreed, saying the supplementary deed said the signatories would abide by the appeal.

The receiver for the Central North Island Forestry Partnership, Michael Stiassny, has threatened to take legal action after tomorrow's signing over roading access to the forests.