The commercial arm of Waikato-Tainui is asking the Government to give it the go-ahead to start building a major inland port near Hamilton.
Tainui Group Holdings has applied to the Environmental Protection Authority for planning permission for its Ruakura development.
The first stage would be a freight and logistics centre - providing facilities for companies which transport their goods by rail or road.
Members of the Authority will make a recommendation to the Minister for the Environment on whether the project is of national significance and should be referred to a Board of Inquiry.
The minister will make the final decision.
When fully developed over 50 years, Ruakura will also feature retail and industrial parks and housing - all on tribal land.
Waikato-Tainui says the project will create about 11,000 jobs, three quarters of which will be new to the area.