The Maori Trust Office is now separate from Te Puni Kokiri and is an independent agency.
The agency administers more than 100,000 hectares of Maori land and has been allocated extra funding to operate as a stand-alone organisation from 1 July.
Former trustee Neville Baker says the office has been hamstrung by its close association with a Government department.
He told Waatea News that the office should take a greater advocacy role for Maori and work closely with other Maori organisations and post-settlement iwi.
Mr Baker said much of the land administered by the Maori Trustee is marginal for farming, and it could make sense to look at how it could be managed as some sort of Maori conservation estate.
Mr Baker ran the office in the early 1990s. John Paki is the current Trustee.