The Government is seeking special world biosphere status for Te Urewera National Park.
In collaboration with Tuhoe, Cabinet Minister Chris Finlayson has travelled to France to conduct talks with UNESCO, the cultural division of the United Nations.
It describes biosphere reserves as places that reconcile conservation of biological and cultural diversity and economic and social development through partnerships between people and nature.
Under a Treaty settlement signed earlier this year, a new legal entity will govern Tuhoe's tribal homeland, currently known as Te Urewera National Park.
Mr Finlayson says securing biosphere status would tell the outside world it's a place to be protected and given international recognition.
He says it's a special categorisation that UNESCO gives to very special areas of land, including the Everglades in Florida and part of Vancouver Island in Canada.
The minister will also continue talks over the prospect of gaining UNESCO World Heritage status for the maunga (volcanic cones) in Auckland.