The Mataatua Assembly which is a collective of 10 Eastern Bay of Plenty iwi, has told the Prime Minister it wants control of granting water consents.
John Key met on Thursday afternoon with the assembly, Te Hono o Mataatua, at Te Manuka Tutahi Marae in Whakatane, where he was presented with a signed declaration.
It affirms the wish of iwi to retain full, exclusive and undisturbed procession of ancestral waters, and the right to use that water resource.
The iwi collective also wants a say in the granting of water consents.
Mataatua Assembly chairman Sir Hirini Mead says at the moment iwi don't play any part in decisions on consents, and tangata whenua run the risk of losing the resource.
He says the assembly has been working on the declaration for about four years and has not been influenced by the recent Waitangi Tribunal decision on water ownership.
Sir Hirini says Mataatua does not yet have a view on proprietary rights.
Prime Minister John Key says the Crown's view that no one owns the water in New Zealand, hasn't changed.