The Maori Party co-leader says more whanau Maori are considering the idea of going into rest homes.
New research shows that more tangata whenua are trying to find pathways in to palliative care, but face barriers due to the sector's inability to respond to cultural needs.
The number of older Maori is growing but, anecdotally, tangata whenua going into care such as hospices, is not.
Associate Health Minister, Te Hauauru MP Tariana Turia, said they felt an obligation to look after elderly whanau at home, but said she was seeing a gradual change.
She said lifestyles were changing and two incomes were critical for households to survive, which made rest homes a more viable option.
'More research needed'
In the most recent statistics from 2011, Maori made up about 10 percent of hospice patients.
However, in a Ministry of Health report, it says those numbers need to be treated with caution, as data collection of ethnicities within palliative services is not always accurate.
Senior Lecturer Jacquie Kidd says more research is needed into why tangata whenua aren't going into hospices.
Dr Kidd, who is a Ngapuhi descendent, said there was a low number of Maori in palliative care despite the increasing number of older tangata whenua.
She said said her report focused on the experiences of tangata whenua once they were in palliative care, but didn't fully explore the whanau who were choosing not to go into a hospice.