Professor Ngatata Love wants the Government to "think radically" about Maori education, including considering whether wananga can take Maori students as young as 14 rather than leaving them in mainstream schooling.

Dr Love - a professor at Victoria University's management school and former head of Te Puni Kokiri - raised the topic during a symposium held yesterday by the hui Taumata.

The grouping of influential iwi and business leaders met to discuss ideas raised at the Job Summit - including the use of iwi assets and how to ensure Maori children stayed in education for longer.

Dr Love said wananga heads had told him they could take children on from 14 and this could be a solution for those who were not succeeding at school.

"I'm not saying every 14-year-old should go over there, but I think many who may be better looked after in that way could go. I don't think there are barriers to it, but there needs to be a willingness to consider how it could be done."

Dr Love said only one in every three Maori children left school with university entrance qualifications.

"This isn't working and surely there's a better way. That needs to be addressed in discussions. I think we have to think radically."

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Anne Tolley said she had met representatives from the three wananga to discuss them taking children from school. However, the discussions had only covered the role wananga could play in the Government's Youth Guarantee policy, which had yet to be implemented.

That policy applies only to 16 and 17-year-olds, allowing them to receive free education whether or not it is at a traditional school.

Labour MP Kelvin Davis, a former school principal in the Far North, said the idea had merit and should be looked at further.

Dr Love also reported back on the ideas presented at the Job Summit held on February 27. He said four of the ideas from the Maori working group made it into the top 20 which the Government was focusing on.

He said several ideas were pertinent to the "Maori economy" and would generate jobs as well as boost iwi assets in the longer term. One suggestion was for the Government to give a "carbon holiday" to allow iwi with forestry assets to plant trees without worrying about future liabilities.

Dr Love said many of the forests iwi were now benefiting from had been planted as part of tree-planting schemes during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Repeating the exercise now would provide jobs and a future investment.

Another idea was the "seasonal marketplace" - which he likened to shearing gangs - of groups of workers moving around the country working in horticulture. "It becomes an occupation rather than a short-term job, and they could work either with contractors or on our own land." Ideas included using idle iwi land for horticulture, managed and worked by iwi.

There was also the potential for more papakainga housing projects on iwi land in partnership with Housing New Zealand and for iwi to make better use of water resources, including aquaculture.

Other ideas included a Tuhoe proposal that iwi set up a wood-processing business, rather than exporting logs overseas to be processed.