A Māori language leader in the Far North says Professor Timoti Karetu's comments blaming iwi for the loss of Te Reo is unreasonable, and it would be unfair to blame the victims of colonisation.
He voiced his comments at the Māori Affairs Select Committee for Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board.
But, Te Rārawa Chief, Haami Piripi, said there were historic and legitimate reasons why some iwi were struggling to keep their language alive.
"That's more like blaming the victim, you can't blame the victim for the circumstances we find ourselves in" Mr Piripi said.
"That's not fair I don't think because iwi have been 'struggling institutions' for a long time, it's only very recently that iwi have really find our feet, and think that since we have found our feet as iwi organisations nationally, particularly, we are in a much much better position to be able to make a difference and to combine and collaborate in our efforts to support one another in [language] revitalisation."