New figures show over two thirds of the children who have died in state care since Oranga Tamariki was established were Māori.
Experts say this is due to an over-representation of Māori in state care.
Information accessed by the Herald by an Official Information Act request shows 23 out of the 28 children who died in state care since 2017 were Māori.
Of the 23, Oranga Tamariki said two were classified as Cook Island Māori, one was Māori/Indian, 20 were Māori.
Four were New Zealand European and one was British and Irish.
University of Otago social and community work associate professor Dr Nicola Atwool told the Herald Māori make up 60 per cent of children in care.
"[The number dying] It's unacceptable, but as I say, it's because Māori are nearly two thirds of the children in care, so it's another legacy of the over-representation of Māori in the care system."
She said it also spoke to their vulnerability and the particularly detrimental effect the care system has on Māori.
This comes after a damning review of the agency found it was "weak, disconnected and unfit" and the Government announced it would cease the current controversial process of child uplifts.
All 25 of the report's recommendations have been accepted by the Government.
This change, Atwool said, would "narrow the function" for social workers so they only get involved when they need to be.
"I'm cautiously optimistic, cautiously optimistic. I think the challenge has well and truly been laid down, it's whether we can respond to it."
Earlier this month the Herald revealed almost 30 children had died in state care since 2017, including five by suicide and two as a result of child abuse, homicide or manslaughter.
In a statement Oranga Tamariki said the percentage of tamariki in state care is disproportionately Māori, which is reflected in the statistics.
"The proposed changes at the agency will strengthen, restore and empower Māori and community collectives so that they can lead prevention of harm for tamariki, rangatahi and their whānau."