Education Review Office (ERO) staff have found just 10% of early childhood education centres are fully respecting and recognising Maori families and their culture.
While 78% of centres have good relationships with whanau, ERO says enjoying
informal chats over a cup of tea does not mean they have a partnership with Maori.
Maori are sometimes not acknowledged in a way that promotes their unique place as tangata whenua.
It's found mihimihi (introductions) are rare, and few centres invite extended whanau to take part in sessions to welcome and settle in new children.
ERO says there needs to be considerable improvement in the way most early education childcare services work with whanau.
It recommends that the Ministry of Education finds ways for teachers to undergo further training to build genuine links with whanau, hapu and iwi.
ERO canvassed 374 early childhood education centres before compiling its report.
The office studied mainstream centres, not kohanga reo.