Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres says continuing Maori youth unemployment is a threat to social cohesion.
Waatea News reports that while Maori unemployment is running at more than 16%, Maori youth unemployment is much higher, particularly in areas like Northland.
Mr de Bres is concerned that more than 40% of those aged 15-to-19 years who have not gone into tertiary education, cannot find employment and can become dissatisfied.
"I just don't think we can sustain that. I think it's a genuine risk to social cohesion and these people will feel marginalised," he said.
Mr de Bres said Maori unemployment will be discussed at a forum held by the commission in Christchurch on Monday, along with issues like Maori representation on councils and bi-cultural environmental policy.