A Kohanga Reo teacher from west Auckland fears many Maori traditions could slowly be squeezed out, if pre-schools continue to be managed by the Ministry of Education.
The Waitangi Tribunal is hearing submissions this week from Maori representatives, some of whom accuse the Crown of mainstreaming Kohanga Reo, and want to see them managed independently of the ministry.
There are about 480 kohanga centres throughout the country.
Ethel Lewin from a west Auckland kohanga says teachers do not want to see important tikanga Maori lost under ministry management.
She says it is not just about teaching mokopuna to read and write and children are welcomed as if they were on a marae.
Ethel Lewin says it is about being able to practice being their natural selves as Maori.