Te Taura Whiri i te Reo, the Maori Language Commission, says children whose Maori names are mispronounced often end up disengaging from the classroom.
It wants to raise awareness of the importance of correct pronunciation of Maori names and place names in this year's Maori Language Week, which ends on Friday.
Chief executive Glenis Philip-Barbara said mispronouncing someone's name has deep implications for that person.
She said many Maori carry names of cultural significance, and research from the Ministry of Education shows that when those names are mispronounced, the student tends to disconnect.
Ms Philip-Barbara said there is a practical value in getting names right, and the old rule applies - if in doubt, ask.