A Ngāti Awa cultural advisor in Whakatāne said there could be individual cases where iwi can include a small kererū quota clause in their Treaty settlements.
Pouroto Ngaropo is responding to a marae in Ōhākune that was criticised by the Conservation Minister, Maggie Barry, for serving the protected native wood pigeon to iwi leaders and government ministers at a hui in 2013.
The kererū is protected under the Wildlife Act which means it can't be hunted or eaten.
He said his iwi included a clause in its Treaty settlement in 2005 so it could harvest tītī, or muttonbirds, from offshore islands in its rohe.
Mr Pouroto said a similar deal for kererū could be negotiated between some iwi and the Crown.
"We do that here with the joint management committee [between the iwi and the Conservation Department], not so much with kererū, but with kuia (tītī / muttonbird / sooty shearwater)," Mr Pouroto said.
"It's also about preserving our methodologies, our ways in terms of our kai.
"We haven't actually had an opportunity as Ngāti Awa since the 1950s [to harvest muttonbirds]. So over the last few years it's been part of our Treaty settlement relationship with the Department of Conservation, to learn about the processes that we need to undertake before we go out to get kuia from our islands."
Pouroto Ngaropo said the iwi only gathers muttonbirds for special occasions, as the agreement is also about sustaining the traditional food resource for future generations.