Simon Bridges says discussion of whether he is "Māori enough" has been "a bit hard to understand".
His election as National Party leader last week - the first Māori to hold the top spot in either of the two major parties - sparked discussion of "blood quantums".
Speaking to The Hui on Sunday, Mr Bridges said with three grandparents who hail from England and one who was Ngāti Maniapoto and came from rural Oparure, his ancestry should be easy enough to process.
"That's my whakapapa. I am Māori. I grew up that way, people have always considered me so. It's fundamentally simple."
But that doesn't mean he'll commit to attending next Waitangi events.
"I don't know. I want to think that through. I want to talk to senior colleagues."
The Hui host Mihingarangi Forbes offered Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's reception at Waitangi early in the year as an example of prosperous relations between Māori and the Crown, before asking: "As leader of the National Party and a leader who whakapapas to Ngāti Maniapoto, will you return to Waitangi?"
Mr Bridges wasn't sure.
"I potentially will. It's not a no, let's put it that way."