The fear that valuable knowledge will be lost when the present generation of Kaumatua die is prompting a confederation of tribes to develop new leaders.
A Te Arawa entity wants savvy minded people who could empower the iwi to unite on political matters.
Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa charitable arm and the Māori Development Minister, Te Ururoa Flavell, are calling for emerging leaders to take part in a programme that will upskill them in areas of culture, social development, economics and politics.
Mr Flavell who hails from Te Arawa iwi, Ngāti Rangiwewehi, said he wanted the iwi confederation to look at succession.
"One of the things that we don't do is take up the opportunity to upskill our younger ones in taking up the roles on Marae, both male and female," Mr Flavell said.
"As well as in the bigger picture around the things that iwi have to deal with; whether it's dealing with issues of the day or it could be around the Māori representation on local councils. Or whether it [would] be Māori position on flags, all those sorts of issues are current issues and we don't necessarily have the forms to do that".
Development project manager at Te Pūmautanga, Aneta Morgan, said iwi also needed to work together.
"We don't have a lot of ability for our leaders to represent us at a political level, these are our culture leaders. And sometimes our leaders get put in to those positions without support. So, this is about building a group of people [who] are leaders well-versed in a whole lot of different things," Ms Morgan said.
Te Ururoa Flavell suggested the leadership programme, Rangatakapū o Te Arawa, would help participants learn to articulate their stand on issues and deliver arguments, rather than shying away from situations they may not have dealt with.
"There are some within Te Ao Māori [Māoridom] who on any Marae would be able to hold their own. But flicking into Te Ao Pākehā [modern world] some would struggle. Similarly those who are in Te Ao Pākeha, who are business leaders may not necessarily have the skills to cope in Te Ao Māori. The object of the exercise is to bridge that gap," he said.
Iwi members between 25 to 49 years old who want to support Te Arawa can sign up to the programme, but they will need to do so before Saturday and need to have the support of a Marae, hapū, or iwi trust/organisation.
Te Arawa leaders including Te Ururoa Flavell will run six sessions with the candidates over six months, which will include workshops and role play.
Te Arawa leader Sir Toby Curtis supported the programme but stressed that Te Reo was important because it helped give a leader credibility and enabled them to see the world differently.
"If we don't convince our young people that they need the Reo to help them in their development in a Māori economy, [then] they're only helping pakeha [to] become pākehā orientated in the economy. We want an economy that also has a touch of Māori preference, expectation, and that we know it will also have a touch of wairua about it," Sir Toby Curtis said.
The six month leadership programme gets underway from 27 March.