Post Primary Teachers' Association president Robin Duff says he doesn't think teachers are deliberately mispronouncing pupils' names.
Education Minister Hekia Parata challenged school teachers at the association's annual conference on 3 October to pronounce correctly the names of Maori and Pasifika students.
Ms Parata says one of the most common complaints she hears from education focus groups and students is that some teachers don't know how to correctly pronounce the names of Maori and Pasifika pupils.
She says all teachers need to engage with pupils through language, culture and identity.
But Mr Duff says sometimes the names of students from numerous nationalities are difficult.
He says if a pupil's name is continuously said incorrectly, the child's parents should go and talk to the school principal.
Everyone, including students, deserves to have their name said correctly so they can feel happy and positive, he says.