The Maori Council says it has boosted its intellectual and legal capacity by appointing Sir Eddie Durie as co-chair.
The former Maori Land Court judge joins Maanu Paul in the shared role, which has been vacated by a frail Sir Graham Latimer, who takes up the new position of president.
Mr Paul says with the council's urgent Waitangi Tribunal water claim hearing due next month, there is a lot for the leadership to get stuck into.
He says Sir Eddie has brought a huge intellectual capacity and a huge legal mind to the council.
Mr Paul says as a long-standing member his own role will be able to guide the council, drawing on his political and cultural history of the organisation.