Hapū in Hokianga are backing the idea of a name change for Tūhoronuku.
The board set up to hold the mandate for the Ngāpuhi Treaty settlement was named after a kite that was flown by the iwi's ancestor Rahiri to divide Ngāpuhi territory between his two warring sons.
According to hapū spokesman Piripi Moore, who's a member of Tūhoronuku, Hokianga hapū want the name back.
'Tūhoronuku' had come to symbolise division in the iwi's long-running mandate dispute, Mr Moore said.
"I think it's not just the view of our hapū in Pakanae...that the name has become a bit problematic and if it's going to be a source of division then we need something we can unite around," he said.
A name change alone would not resolve the long-running mandate deadlock, but hapū had begun to talk across the divide and Ngāpuhi needed a fresh start, Mr Moore said.
"The obvious choice for the Ngāpuhi mandate is the "Ngāpuhi Mandate", but our hapū feel a great responsibility to ensure as the kaitaki of Rahiri's pā (Whiria) that when that name change occurs, the rangatira name of our tūpuna kite Tūhoronuku, is carefully restored to its rightful place in our history," he said.
But Tūhoronuku chair Hone Sadler said Hokianga hapū did not have a franchise on the care and protection of the name Tūhoronuku, and elders were opposed to a name change.
"The kite has not completed its work. It has not landed yet. Until its work is completed, we cannot hang it up. I for one will certainly be ensuring the continuity of its use. The kite is not a quitter, nor does Ngāpuhi expect its leadership to be quitters," Mr Sadler said.
Tūhoronuku had not had a chance to discuss the issue, he said.
Mr Moore said the board had voted to support a new proposal developed with the support of Minister Little, in which all parties had agreed a new name was required to rally the iwi around their negotiations and settlement.
Tūhoronuku was originally set up by the Ngāpuhi runanga, under the leadership of the chair Raniera (Sonny) Tau to secure the mandate, or demonstrable support, to settle the iwi's historic claims.
It was challenged from the outset by hapū who saw it as runanga-dominated and said its members did not fairly represent them.
That claim was largely upheld by the Waitangi Tribunal which found hapū rangatiratanga had been undermined, and made recommendations to strengthen the mandate.
Mr Little has said he was committed to resolving the deadlock for the good of the iwi and the nation, and had funded hapū hui throughout the north this month in a bid to gain consensus on a solution.