Southland Maori living with a disability have told researchers they want a formal role on their marae.
A small Otago University study interviewed 29 disabled people and their whanau.
It found that an dedicated advocacy service to help them with everything from funding to health matters should be set up.
A Maori researcher who was involved in the study, Kelly Tikao, said it also found that tangata whenua wanted to play a part at the pa, so they could uphold the mana of their family.
She said sometimes they felt people didn't understand them because they may have to walk away if a waiata was too loud, or could bring on a seizure.
Ms Tikao said, despite that, they still wanted to be involved as a kaikaranga (orator). But she said sometimes they were not selected because of their disability such as a hearing or speech impediment.