The chairman of Ngati Pukenga iwi in Tauranga says Maori will be playing an important role in a long-term plan being drawn up by Bay of Plenty Regional Council to monitor the environmental effects of oil from the grounded container ship, Rena.
Awanui Black says the plan, which is a partnership between local and central government and iwi, will cover areas known to have been affected by oil and debris from the ship.
He says, because of the iwi structure, Maori can mobilise people very quickly to be of assistance.
Mr Black says it's going to be a complex operation because of the different ways in which the various organisations operate.
Science manager at the regional council, Rob Donald, says health authorities will use the information gathered to determine the safety of seafood and decide what beaches can be used for recreational purposes.