An iwi group says Maori families in poverty should not pin their hopes on winning lotto and that they will be better off giving their children the gift of education this Christmas.
"Too many of our whanau are hanging out for a division one win as a way to climb out of destitution but it just isn't going to happen," says Awanui Black of Nga Kaikokiri Matauranga - Iwi Advocate for Education.
"The best way to overcome poverty is through education and that's the ticket I urge our whanau to put under their tree this Christmas."
Mr Black says the gift of education is about families taking a serious interest in the schooling of their children as well as the learning of their Maori language and culture.
"I really do feel for our whanau out there living from week to week, struggling to buy kai and pay the bills, but they have to keep the education message right at the front of their minds if they are to build a better future for themselves."
Mr Black says there are so many Maori people who have climbed out of poverty through staying at school, going back to school as adults and by learning about their culture.
"Education and learning my language have given me so many opportunities and I want that for all our whanau. If I didn't have those things, I'd be on the bones of my butt right now, one of many living from pay day to pay day," Mr Black says.
"We know the education system has and still is letting down our children, but that's not going to be fixed overnight and until then, our whanau need to be strong and keep participating for the benefit of the kids.
Nga Kaikokiri Matauranga - Iwi Advocate for Education is a newly formed advocacy group which represents 60 iwi organisations throughout the country delivering education and training programmes.
They are also the technical advisory group to the Iwi Chairs Forum (matauranga / education workstream). NKM is developing strategies to tackle the education system's failure of Maori children.