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Taonga Māori

Chapters in this topic


Ownership and management by tangata whenua

What this chapter covers

  • Overview and key terms
  • Status of Māori land
    The different status categories for Māori land and how the status can be changed
  • The Māori Land Court
    How the Māori Land Court works, including how to apply for an order from the court and how you can challenge the court’s decisions
  • Succession: Transfer of ownership when an owner dies
    How ownership of Māori land is transferred on the death of the owner and the restrictions that apply
    in these cases
  • Alienation: Selling, gifting and other land transactions
    How ownership of Māori land is transferred through selling or giving away the land and the restrictions that apply in these cases
  • Methods of managing Māori land: Trusts, incorporations and reservations
    The different management structures that multiple owners of Māori land can use to make decisions about their land and its use (including Māori land trusts, Māori incorporations and Māori reservations) and how to set them up
  • Building on and occupying Māori land
    This includes information about orders available from the Māori Land Court, local council requirements and a special home finance scheme, the kāinga whenua loan scheme
  • Partitions (subdivisions) and other title improvements
    Subdividing Māori land if an owner wants to separate their shares in the land from the other owners, and other ways in which the court can improve the title to the land
  • Rates and Māori land
    Types of Māori land, which rates will or won’t have to be paid, and councils’ powers to remit (not collect) or postpone the payment of rates
  • Takutai moana: Customary rights in the marine and coastal area (foreshore and seabed)
    Getting legal recognition of customary rights in te takutai moana (“foreshore and seabed”)
  • Legal personality for maunga, awa and other natural features of the land
    How some maunga, awa and rohe now have the status of a legal person under the law
  • Where to get other information
Next Section | Overview and key terms

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Māori land

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and can help you apply to the Māori Land Court.

Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre


The Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre assists all Ngāi Tahu and all Māori living within the Ngāi Tahu rohe. They practise in Māori land law and in advocacy focused on kaupapa Māori.

Māori Land Court


Find information about the Māori Land Court online.



Download application forms online.

Information booklets


Download or view information booklets online.

National Pānui


View the National Pānui online or subscribe online.

Māori Land Online


Search for Māori land interests online.

Te Tumu Paeroa: Office of the Māori Trustee


Search online for funds owing to beneficial owners.

Inland Revenue Department, Kaitakawaenga Māori service


This service offers one-on-one tax advice; tax training or seminars; tax agencies at resource centres or marae; and school visits. This service will attend hui or come to you and provide other advice about your tax obligations.

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Community Law Manual is a trail-blazing resource that helps Kiwis (and their advocates) help themselves. The Manual contains over 800 pages of easy-to-read legal info, on just about every area of community and personal life. Re-released every year in July, the Manual provides comprehensive answers to common legal questions.

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