Ngai Te Rangi kaumatua Hauata Palmer says that establishment of the first iwi-operated educational body is a step forward for Maori education.
Backed by 23 kura in the North Island, the Iwi Education Authority will lobby to improve Maori education through discussions with professional teacher organisations and unions.
It says the kaupapa of the authority is to put a stop to Maori students underachieving in class.
Mr Palmer, a Ngai Te Rangi elder, says the new body will allow iwi to take more responsibly in Maori education.
Because many of the kura are within iwi boundaries, it gives them the responsibility of improving Maori achievement in education, he says.
Iwi leaders from around the country saw the Iwi Education Authority launched on Wednesday at Whareroa Marae in Tauranga by its chairman, Pem Bird.