The Global Asthma Network is desperately in need of funding to undertake asthma research, which it says results in high death rates for Maori and Pasifika.
Its leader said about 70 New Zealanders die from the disease each year.
Innes Asher, of Auckland University, said there was a lack of information available about asthma, and more needed to be done.
Professor Asher said the country had no information on the costs of asthma on ethnic groups.
Professor Asher was calling on government agencies and the philanthropic sector to provide funding for improved healthcare, which would save the country money.
She said information was power in terms of solving the problem.
Professor Asher said she wanted to know more about how management of asthma was tailored for Māori and where they went for help with their asthma.
She said her ideal budget to undertake the research would be about $500,000 a year for five years.