The Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board could be the first iwi authority to have functions transferred from a council, under a new proposal just announced.
The Waikato Regional Council is proposing to transfer monitoring of summer bathing beaches, regional rivers, rainfall and groundwater quality within the Lake Taupō catchment to the board.
Lake Taupō holds special value for Ngāti Tūwharetoa, the iwi of Taupō.
Ensuring the health of the lake is regarded as a top priority at both a national and local level.
Ngāti Tūwharetoa has local knowledge about the lake and its tributary streams and the trust board by Deed of Settlement has ownership of Taupō waters.
This unique relationship means that the trust board holds legal title as trustee and acts as kaitiaki over Taupō waters, on behalf of Ngāti Tūwharetoa.
Section 33 of the Resource Management Act enables a local authority to transfer any one or more of its functions, powers or duties under the act to another public authority, except for the power of transfer itself.
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of releasing the statement of proposal for public feedback.
Waikato Regional Council chairman Russ Rimmington said: "Lake Taupō has become a symbol of near-pristine environmental conditions and is seen as a national treasure.
"Monitoring of the water quality of Lake Taupō is therefore an essential and vital tool to ensure we can keep our precious national taonga healthy and clean for all to enjoy and use.
"This is an exciting and transformational proposal which acknowledges the unique ownership status of Taupō waters.
"It would bring efficiencies and potential financial benefits for us, with council staff not required to travel to Taupō as regularly to undertake this work, saving travel time and fuel costs.
"Having local partners on the ground with the technical expertise and skills would provide a range of benefits for this work, including fast response times if equipment is faulty or there's a major incident."
The proposal will open for consultation on June 8 and close on July 8.
To read the proposal and to make a submission, visit the Waikato Regional Council website.