Professor James Anaya, a United Nations special rapporteur, has visited the marae at Waitangi where a few hundred people turned out to voice their concerns about the status of Maori in New Zealand.
Mr Anaya says his role is to review the issues raised by his predecessor Rodolfo Stavenhagen.
Five years ago, Mr Stavenhagen delivered a report critical of the government, which among other things called for the Foreshore and Seabed Act to be repealed.
He also identified significant disparities between Maori and Pakeha, especially in the areas of health, income and housing.
Mr Anaya today asked Maori whether they think those disparities still exist.
Several Maori leaders spoke, including Te Kotahitanga o nga Hapu Ngapuhi spokesman Pita Tipene who said Maori continue to be marginalized and pushed to the sideline.
Mr Tipene slammed the Government, saying there is inherent racism in many of their policies.
Mr Anaya will report back to the UN with his findings but reiterated that his role did not have specific political or economic powers.