Labour's Kelvin Davis said Maori need to stand up and be leaders on the issues that matter.
The Te Tai Tokerau MP was speaking at the political leaders forum at Te Tii Marae at Waitangi.
He referred to a number of issues, including the high methamphetamine use by Maori.
He held up a t-shirt that was worn by many of those involved in a hikoi earlier today, that marched up the road outside Te Tii.
They were calling for the Government to do more about the P epidemic.
Mr Davis said he agrees, and is glad people are making themselves heard.
The political forum ended with a question and answer session from the audience, which was made up of about 60 people.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was also due to speak at the forum, but has decided to boycott Te Tii Marae because the news media have been banned from covering events on the marae.