The National Urban Māori Authority is crying foul after John Tamihere and Willie Jackson failed to gain seats on Auckland's Independent Māori Statutory Board.
Former MP Tau Henare and Papakura Marae chief executive Tony Kake will fill the urban Māori seats alongside seven iwi representatives.
The board was set up to ensure Māori participation in decision making at the council. Its seven iwi seats are selected by iwi, and that group then selects the two urban representatives.
The National Urban Māori Authority (NUMA) represents about 130,000 urban Māori.
Its chief executive, Lance Norman, said tribal Māori were getting too much say in the city, and he described the selection process for the board as "apartheid".
Mr Norman said there was widespread support among Māori social services for urban Māori leaders - Mr Jackson and Mr Tamihere - to fill the urban spots.
He is now calling for a review.
"Iwi should appoint iwi of course and urban Māori should appoint urban Māori.
"Now, with respect to both John and Willie, we had over twenty urban Māori organisations across Tamaki supporting them so that is a clear mandate from the community that we work in that they want those two to represent us for issues for urban Māori."
Mr Norman said the selection process disadvantaged urban leaders like Mr Tamihere and Mr Jackson who did not always see eye to eye with iwi leaders.
"But given that 80 percent of us living in Tamaki are not from here we definitely need a stronger voice for urban Māori.
"We need people who have a specific lens over urban Māori issues and, with respect, some of our iwi people just have a lens over iwi.
"Which is right, that's what they're set up to do.
"But who looks after the other 80 percent of Māori?"
There were "massive issues" in Tamaki on homelessness, unemployment and education. "Who's advancing those issues?".
Mr Henare, who has one of the urban roles, said to a certain extent he agreed with Mr Norman.
But he said the role of board members was defined by the law and it would be up to the Minister for Local Government Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga to make changes.
Mr Lotu-Iiga said the process for selecting board members was set down in legislation, and he was not planning to review it.
Mr Henare and Mr Kake begin their three-year appointments in November.