The Crown has been accused of being 'bloody minded' in its approach to settling the Ngapuhi Treaty claims.
A two-day urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing has been held in Wellington, led by hapu lawyers who reject the way the iwi's runanga board, Tuhoronuku, was selected by the Crown to begin settlement talks.
Lead negotiator from the Office of Treaty Settlements, Nigel Fyfe, stood up to questions and accusations from lawyer Jason Pou.
Mr Fyfe said he rejected any suggestion there had been any level of pre-determination on the part of the Crown.
Mr Pou countered that position by saying while he might reject the assertion, the perception was clearly there.
He said one claims body was funded with millions of dollars and another was not funded at all.
He added that hapu were being told they had to keep participating in a policy that the Crown had created.
A four-member Waitangi Tribunal panel said it would deliberate and deliver a report as soon as it could, and hapu lawyers expected that to be in May.