Former Māori Party co-leader Dame Tariana Turia is disheartened by the state of Māori politics, but sees a future for a Māori movement "to give us back our rights and responsibilities to look after ourselves".
"We've lost faith in ourselves as a people," she told TVNZ1's Q+A last night.
"Even though we will say the system's this, the system's that, it's not right, it's racist, it's all these things. On the other hand, we don't trust ourselves to lead ourselves politically.
"I can't quite get my head around that."
The Māori Party was formed in 2004 after Dame Tariana left the Labour Party, however it did not win any seats at the 2017 election and failed to make it into Parliament.
Host Jack Tame asked Dame Tariana about Māori MPs.
"They're in a system that isn't Māori. They have to do as they do. They have to do as they're told. That's the truth of it," she said.
Despite her disappointment with the state of Māori politics, Dame Tariana said there was a future for a Māori movement.
"How that might give expression to itself, either in Parliament or outside of Parliament, is really what needs to be explored.
"My preference would be to strengthen whānau, hapu and iwi, to give us back our rights and responsibilities to look after ourselves.
"Of course I want autonomy... because it's a right, it's not a privilege. The Treaty of Waitangi never, ever told us that our autonomy would be removed from us. I have a great belief that our people would never treat others as they have treated us."
Q+A is on TVNZ1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.