Tuhoe plans to set up three charter schools and are negotiating with the Education Ministry on how they can do it on their own terms.
Tribal negotiator Tamati Kruger said the Crown's model for charter schools would be used as a basis for the schools.
Mr Kruger said Tuhoe expressed interest in setting up the schools early this year and had been working with the Education Ministry since.
The iwi plan to set up three schools - a primary, intermediate and a secondary school - on different campuses but run by one board.
Tuhoe children predominantly attend rural schools and the schools find it hard to recruit people to boards of trustees.
"The competition that exists within a small community is large - schools compete for parental support for boards, fundraising, transport and for students themselves."
"Sometimes in rural communities there is a deep loyalty to one school and it's often at the expense of a wider community," said Mr Kruger.
There are nine primary, intermediate and secondary schools in the area already.
Mr Kruger said at least one of the proposed charter schools would be in Ruatoki - the heart of the Tuhoe tribal area.
Associate Education Minister John Banks supported the idea, saying there had been a deep vein of social deprivation and education under-achievement across the country and for Ngai Tuhoe.
"It can't be left unattended, I am glad Tuhoe grasp this challenge. We are pleased Tuhoe have added their name to the list."
He said Tuhoe would be able to tailor their education to their needs as long as they delivered the academic results.
A spokesman for the Minister of Treaty Settlements Chris Finlayson confirmed charter schools were part of a social services management plan signed by the iwi and the Crown this week.
"The services management plan provides that the Ministry of Education will work with Tuhoe, in the development of an education strategy, to establish whether charter schools would be an appropriate way of providing outcomes for Tuhoe communities."
Tuhoe reached an agreement with the Crown for $170 million settlement of historic grievances this week.
Ngai Tuhoe is the country's sixth largest iwi, with 35,000 members - about 20 per cent of whom live in the tribal area.
WHAT EXISTS ALREADY -
There are nine schools in the Tuhoe tribal area currently - they cover primary, intermediate and secondary levels.
-Te Wharekura o Ruatoki - primary, intermediate and secondary.
-Te Kura o Tawera - primary, intermediate - based in Ruatoki.
-Te Kura o Taneatua - primary, intermediate.
-Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Matahi - primary, intermediate.
-Te Kura o Waimana - primary, intermediate.
-Te Wharekura o Waiohau - primary, intermediate and high School.
-Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Huiarau - secondary.
-Te Kura o Waikaremoana - primary, intermediate.
- Te Kura o Kutarere - primary, intermediate.