The chairman of New Zealand's second largest iwi board says his tribe has never given up the right to own water.
The Maori Council has gone to the Waitangi Tribunal seeking proprietary control of resources such as lakes and rivers.
The chairman of Waikato Tainui executive Tuku Morgan says his iwi will sit on the sidelines in that case.
But he says it could still seek water ownership later, as it did not give away its rights in signing a $170 million Treaty settlement with the Crown and a subsequent co-management regime for the Waikato River.
Tuku Morgan says besides cleaning up the Waikato River, he wants to ensure legislation protecting Maori rights in state-owned enterprises is not diluted.
He adds Tainui still plan to use partial privatisation to buy shares in SOEs.