The Maori Students Association says the performance of wananga should be scrutinised in a different way from mainstream universities.
Figures from the Tertiary Education Commission showing Te Wananga o Raukawa at Otaki is the worst of three Maori universities for students completing their qualifications and staying in study.
Only 43% successfully finish their courses.
But the Maori Students Association (Te Mana Akonga) says wananga operate under tikanga values.
Association president Jacqualene Poutu says there's more than one way to measure the performance of the three Maori tertiary institutions.
She says she knows undergraduates at all three wananga: Te Wananga o Raukawa, Te Wananga o Aotearoa, and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi - and the feedback is all students are happy on campus.
Miss Poutu says they're pleased by the environment they're in and the tutors go the extra mile for their students.
She says the Tertiary Education Commission should be asking students what they think about their wananga.