Sir Michael Cullen will lead an independent review into Edgecumbe's infrastructure and the circumstances that led to the breach of a flood wall in the town on April 5.
The review was announced by Bay of Plenty Regional Council chairman Doug Leeder on Monday.
He says the timing was appropriate as the regional and district council move into a recovery phase, after the town was flooded.
"We will start looking at repair and reintroduction of services to Edgecumbe [and] it is appropriate that a review sits alongside that process," Mr Leeder said.
Sir Michael Cullen's involvement would ensure an impartial, arms-length assessment of the council's infrastructure and response, he said.
The review will focus on events leading up to the breach of the flood wall and includes the design and maintenance of the wall.
"I appreciate that many people in the community are looking for answers - understandably they are asking how this could happen and what could have been done to prevent it," Mr Leeder said.
The review's findings are expected in July.