The Waitangi Tribunal has been told children are losing a wealth of Maori knowledge because of Ministry of Education regulations.
The inquiry in Wellington is hearing evidence on the running of Maori pre-schools, after a claim for self-management was made by the Te Kohanga Reo Trust.
A Kohanga witness Vaine Daniels told the Tribunal on Friday that for the Maori language to survive the movement must not be constrained by Crown regulations.
The tribunal heard evidence from speakers including Andrew Hema, Nikorima Broughton and Heke Huata.
Ms Daniels says for Te Reo to blossom, elders should be able to teach tamariki without having to gain a teaching qualification.
She says kuia and koroua hold a wealth of cultural expertise in history, customs as well as Te Reo - all knowledge beneficial for tamariki Maori.