Several high-profile Maori say they will be ignored unless there are dedicated seats on the Auckland council.
At a debate on Tuesday night, people discussed ways in which Maori could be fairly represented in the new council structure.
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the council is structurally racist and is shutting Maori out.
Ms Turei says in order for Maori to have a voice in the new council, they need to have dedicated seats and be at the decision-making table.
Broadcaster Scotty Morrison says though there are three councillors of Maori descent on the council, he does not have much confidence they will be strong advocates for Maori.
Mr Morrison says the Maori Advisory Board, which has been set up instead of the dedicated Maori seats, is patronising and will give little power or voice to Maori.
New Auckland Mayor Len Brown has said he will review Maori representation in two years.