The Iwi Education Authority wants to work with the head of the Ministry of Education to help Maori do better at school.
Lesley Longstone recently drew criticism from teacher unions when she said the education system isn't yet world class because of underachievement of Maori, Pasifika and poor children.
But Te Maru o Nga Kura a Iwi (the Iwi Education Authority) has backed the comments. It says links have been made for years between poverty and underachievement - but says the connection is "lame" and "dodgy".
The chair of the authority, Toby Curtis, says it's time his group sat down with the Ministry of Education to put Maori on a path to being as successful as Pakeha students.
He says New Zealand has very competent teachers.