The Gisborne District Council has unanimously approved an agreement with Ngati Porou to jointly manage the Waiapu River and its tributaries.
It is the first Joint Management Agreement in New Zealand to jointly share the functions, powers and duties under the Resource Management Act.
Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon said the council had been exploring options for co-management and co-governance of the Waiapu catchment with Ngati Porou since January.
Mr Foon said council recognised the fundamental role Ngati Porou had as kaitiaki, as a source of knowledge, and acknowledged their interests in the future management of the river.
He said the agreement would enable Ngati Porou and council to join staff resources for research and development of a catchment plan for the Waiapu River and its tributaries, as well as joint decision-making on how water was used within the catchment.
Catchment plans will contain water quality and quantity objectives, limits and targets for individual waterways and wetlands.
Council staff will now draft the agreement with Ngati Porou representatives and attend a meeting with landowners to make sure they are comfortable.
A paper will be submitted to Future Tairāwhiti in late September for discussion before heading to the 8 October full meeting of council for adoption.