A Ngapuhi hapu leader is challenging how much the heads of Maori tertiary institutes and trust boards are paid.
David Rankin, from Matarahurahu, says Maori working in the public sector should be held accountable.
One education institute he has criticised is Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, based in Whakatane.
Mr Rankin says its use of the term "indigenous university" misleads people.
He is questioning a number of heads of Maori institutions, including campus chief executive Graham Smith, about how much they are paid.
Mr Rankin says he wants to know why the chief executives of some taxpayer-funded Maori organisations are being paid packages worth well over $500,000, when there are tangata whenua at the other end of the scale who are financially crippled.
Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi disputes Mr Rankin's claim, saying the chief executive is paid in accordance with the terms approved by the State Services Commission.
It says Mr Smith does not earn more than $500,000.