The head of Maori studies at Auckland University, Margaret Mutu, says the new Race Relations Commissioner has to acknowledge what she describes as racism against Maori.
Commenting on the appointment of the former world squash champion Susan Devoy to the job, Professor Mutu says there are number of things Dame Susan needs to consider.
She says the depth of racism against Maori in New Zealand needs to be recognised, particularly in the state services.
"Government departments are extremely difficult for Maori to deal with," Professor Mutu says, "because of the level of institutionalised racism that exists in all of them."
Dame Susan takes up the job on 1 April, replacing long-serving commissioner Joris de Bres.