October Pānui, 2017


Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho

Toitū he whenua, whatungarongaro he tangata - The land is permanent, man disappears

Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho

Māori land is a taonga tuku iho, a treasure handed down, but without information about the land that you may own or one day inherit the process is going to be a lot harder for Māori in the future. Having knowledge of the unique whakapapa connections Māori have with their whenua instills a sense of identity and belonging which is a basic need for everyone. 

Māori Land Court

If you own or have an interest in Māori land, the Māori Land Court is a judicial forum through which you can interact with other owners or interested people about the current and future use, ownership, occupation and/or management of Māori land.

What is Māori land

Māori land is defined by Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 as being one of two things:

-          Māori Customary Land 

-          Māori Freehold Land

Māori Customary Land

-          has not had its ownership investigated and determined by the Māori Land Court

-          has not been acquired by the Crown

-          does not have a Land Transfer Act title or Deed

-          continues to be held in accordance with tikanga Māori (Māori customary values and practices)

Before the arrival of colonial settlers, all land in New Zealand was held as customary land. One of the primary tasks of the early Native Land Court was to define the boundaries of that land and convert it from communally held land by allocating owners and shares. Only a small number of customary land blocks remain in New Zealand and they total less than 700 hectares.

Māori Freehold Land

-          has been investigated by the Māori Land Court and a freehold order has been issued or

-          was set aside by the Crown as Māori freehold land and awarded by Crown Grants to specific individuals or;

-          has had the status determined as Māori Freehold Land by order of the Māori Land Court

-          Māori Freehold Land is held by individuals who have shares together as tenants in common

In a modern context it has two main characteristics which make it a unique land tenure:

-          economic value

-          cultural value

If you wish to find out more about the function of the Māori land court, go to the following link;


Māori Land Online website

This website, originally launched in 2004, provides a snapshot of current ownership, trustee, memorial and block information for land that falls within the jurisdiction of the Māori Land Court under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 and other legislation – this is primarily Māori Customary and Māori Freehold Land, but also includes, General Land Owned by Māori, Crown Land Reserved for Māori and some treaty settlement reserves, mahingā kai and fishing rights areas. If you wish to find out more about the function of Māori Land Online, go to the following link;


There are 9 offices across New Zealand. The Māori Land Court are open between 10am and 4pm on normal week days. You don’t need to make an appointment.

  • Whangārei
  • Auckland
  • Hamilton
  • Rotorua
  • Gisborne
  • Hastings
  • Whanganu
  • Christchurch
  • Wellington

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