Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira says it is appropriate for kereru to be eaten on special occasions.
The native pigeon was served at an iwi leaders' hui on an Ohakune marae in 2013 and Government ministers were among the guests.
Former Maori Party co-leader Dame Tariana Turia was at the hui, though did not attend the dinner, and said she was not opposed to allowing elders access to certain foods that were traditionally part of their diet.
Ngati Hine leader Waihoroi Shortland opposes kereru being served such events and said achieving leadership status did not justify eating the native bird.
Mr Harawira said on very special occasions eating kereru was fine.
"It's been going on since time immemorial. As far as I know it's not an accepted practice to just go out and get kereru, but when the occasion arrives, when a very special occasion arises, then it is appropriate and it is acceptable."
Mr Harawira said the bird should stay a protected species.