More than 200 tertiary providers will meet in Auckland today to find ways of getting more Maori students into tertiary education.
They want to triple by 2020 the number getting degrees.
Te Wananga o Aotearoa regional manager Yvonne O'Brien said a priority for the Maori Into Tertiary Education (MITE) project was to find a solution that ensured greater Maori success through education.
"I guess what the challenge is for all education leaders in Auckland is the continued number of school leavers who are exiting school with little or no formal secondary school qualifications."
Last year nearly half of the 2840 Auckland students who left school without any qualification were Maori.
Of the 3041 Maori who started high school in 2004 only 360 went on to gain University Entrance.
Ms O'Brien said that wasn't a criticism of secondary schools.
"They know what their challenges are and there are some good schools in Auckland who are doing extraordinary things to address achievement, in particular increasing Maori and Pasifika achievement."
Today's summit, at the Manukau Campus of Te Wananga o Aotearoa, was about getting everyone involved in tertiary education to come together and accept there was a challenge.
"I guess it's not rocket science but for the past 10 years we have been individually trying to achieve that need but we haven't really ... and there's a growing urgency."
She said Auckland had a young and "browning" population so it was important that all agencies came together to find solutions.
One goal was for at least 20 per cent of the city's Maori to have at least a degree-level qualification by 2020. At the moment it is about 8 per cent.
A website mapping educational pathways for students and their families based on things they are interested in will also be launched at the summit.
* 3041 Maori students started Year 9 at Auckland schools in 2004.
* By 2009 just 1325 were still at school. Only 360 gained University Entrance.
* More than 200 people from the Auckland Tertiary Education Sector, government agencies, industry and community will meet today to discuss ways of raising Maori graduation rates.
* One goal is for 20 per cent of Auckland Maori to have at least a degree-level qualification by 2020.