Ngati Maniapoto has become the first iwi to sign a joint management agreement with a number of local councils to help protect the Waipa River.
The agreement was signed in Te Kuiti on Wednesday between the Maniapoto Maori Trust Board, the Waikato Regional Council and the Waikato, Waipa, Otorohanga and Waitomo District Councils.
The agreement comes under a Crown - iwi co-management plan for restoring the quality and integrity of the Waipa and Waikato Rivers.
It allows for Ngati Maniapoto to have input into resource management plans and applications and work with councils on environmental monitoring of the Waipa River and its tributaries.
Maniapoto Maori Trust Board chairman Tiwha Bell says the agreement is about the protection, the ancestral authority and prestige of the Waipa River.
The board says the agreement reflects a positive relationship that already exists with local councils.