Why do I need to file an application?

The records held by the Māori Land Court Registrar can only be changed by an order of the Māori Land Court.  You need to file an application to the Court to make an order.

Who can make an application?

This will depend on the type of application. In general it is the land owner/s, their descendants or their representatives. The Registrar of the Māori Land Court may also lodge applications.

View all types of applications

I live overseas and am no longer a New Zealand citizen, can I lodge an application?

Yes.  If you are an owner or a descendant of an owner you can lodge an application.

What are the different types of applications?

The common types are: Succession, trusts, and alienation’s (meetings, vestings, sales and gifts of shares or blocks).

How do I know which application to lodge?

Each application is unique and Māori Land Court staff can assist you with all application questions.

View all types of applications

Contact a Māori Land Court Office

How can I make an application?

You can download an application form from this website or visit the counter at any Māori Land Court office. We can also post, fax or email you an application form.

Download an Application Form

Contact a Māori Land Court Office 

I live too far away to visit an office.  How can I get help to fill in the application?

You can contact us via phone or email. We also offer Advisory clinics which may be visiting your area soon.

View advisory clinics in your area (Insert a link to events calendar/or district page?)

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If my application is for land in the North Island but I live in the South Island do I have to go to the North Island to lodge it?

No. An application can be lodged at any Māori Land Court office or information offices.

Contact a Māori Land Court Office

If my application is for land in the North Island but I live in the South Island do I have to go to the North Island for the Court hearing?

No. A Court hearing can be held in the town/city closest to where you live.  All applications have a section where you can indicate your preference.

Do I need to appear at the hearing?

If you are the applicant you should appear at the hearing with any support people you wish to attend with you.  Contact your case manager if you want someone else to appear for you or if it is necessary for you to appear.

Do I need a lawyer to lodge an application or to appear for me at the Court hearing?

You may need them to witness parts of an application or if you have to swear an affidavit.  If a lawyer is required the staff of the Māori Land Court will advise you to seek legal advice or that you need legal representation.

How long does to take before my application is heard in Court?

Some registries sit every month and others sit quarterly.  You will be advised when your application is lodged, it shouldn’t be longer than 3 months unless you wish to be heard on the Chatham Islands and that hearing is only once a year.

How do I find out if there is any money coming from the Māori Land interests I have?

You will need to contact the trustee for the land. If there are no trustees you will have to do further investigation, Māori Land Court staff will be able to assist you.

Search Māori Land Online (MLOL)

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Can I sell my Māori land shares?

Yes, subject to the approval of the Court. Owners of interests in Māori Land or of shares in Māori Incorporation can sell their interests to a person who within the meaning of the Act is part of the preferred class of alienee. This includes:

(a) The children and remoter issue (for example grandchildren) of the owner;
(b)  Whanaunga of the owner who are associated with the land in accordance with tikanga Māori;
(c) Other owners in the land (or other shareholders in the incorporation) who are members of the hapū associated with the land;
(d) The trustees of a person referred to in (a) – (c) above;
(e) The descendants of any former owner who is or was a member of the hapū associated to the lands; and
(f) In relation to Māori Incorporation Shares only – the Māori Incorporation where no person identified in (a) – (e) above choose to purchase the interests.

Owners need to discuss any sale with their children even if the sale is to one of those children (where there are more than 1 child). Children and remoter issue are entitled to appear and be heard on any application to sell interests.

Interests can be sold, subject to the approval of the Court, to a person or person(s) who do not fall within the preferred class of alienee – however, the applicant would need to demonstrate that they have attempted to sell the interests at a fair value to the preferred class of alienee with no success.

Contact a Māori Land Court Office

Can I sell the whole block of land?

Subject to the approval of the Court, the owners together who meet the quorum requirements of the Act, Rules and Regulations can apply to the Court to sell the block (for an order confirming the alienation of the block). Where the block is owned solely then that person would make application to sell the block.

Sale of Māori land is subject to the sellers offering to sell the land to a person or persons who within the meaning of the Act is part of the preferred class of alienee. This includes:

(a) The children and remoter issue (for example grandchildren) of the owner;
(b) Whanaunga of the owner who are associated with the land in accordance with tikanga Māori;
(c) Other owners in the land (or other shareholders in the incorporation) who are members of the hapū associated with the land;
(d) The trustees of a person referred to in (a) – (c) above; and
(e) The descendants of any former owner who is or was a member of the hapū associated to the lands; and

Owners need to discuss any sale with their children even if the sale is to one of those children (where there is more than 1 child). Children and remoter issue are entitled to appear and be heard on any application to sell interests.

The land can be sold, subject to the approval of the Court, to a person or person(s) who do not fall within the preferred class of alienee – however, the applicant would need to demonstrate that they have attempted to sell the land at a fair value to the preferred class of alienee with no success.

If the Court approves the sale of a block – it will retain the status of Māori Freehold Land – and does not automatically change status. An application for status change would also need to be lodged with the Court.

For a complex application of this nature you would need to contact your local Māori Land Court for further information.

Contact a Māori Land Court Office

How do I go about buying shares in a block?

You can either talk to the individual shareholders of the block or the members of the trustee.
They may want to sell their shares or they may know of owners who wish to sell. The Māori Land Court does not hold information on owners who wish to sell their land.

Can I build on Māori Land?

Yes, but it depends on the circumstances. However there are a few things you need to do before the Court may issue you with an order for occupation or to determine that a house belongs to you.
As there are a number of requirements for building on Māori Land, you should also contact Māori Land Court staff who will assist you through the process.

Download more information on Māori Land titles

Contact a Māori Land Court Office

Can I change my General land to Māori Freehold land?

You will need to lodge an application to the Court. Your application must be accompanied by a current certificate of title from Land Information New Zealand and sufficient consent from the owners to change the status.

Download an Application Form

View the Land Information New Zealand website (LINZ)

Can I change my Māori Freehold land to General land?

Yes, but you will need to satisfy the requirements of section 136 of the Act. For example the need for finance is not necessarily a good reason to seek a status change. The leading cases in respect of status changes are:

Cleave – Orokawa 3B (1995) 4 Taitokerau Appellate MB 95 (4 APWH 95); and

White – Maketu A2A Lot 4 DPS 63037 (1999) 1 Waiariki Appellate MB 116 (1 AP 116)

For a complex application of this nature you would need to contact your local Māori Land Court for further information.

Download an Application Form

View Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993

Download an Application Form

Contact a Māori Land Court Office

Can I cut my share out of a block?

In the Māori Land Court this is called a partition (also know as a subdivision). Applications for Partition can be complex and costly as a full survey will eventually be required if the partition is approved by the Court. You can find more information on Partitions in our Guide to Title Improvement.

For a complex application of this nature you would need to contact your local Māori Land Court for further information.

View the Information Booklet | Title Improvement

Contact a Māori Land Court Office 

Is Māori Land rateable?

Yes, all land in New Zealand is rateable under the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002. The only exemptions being:

– Māori Customary Land;
– Land that does not exceed 2 hectares and that is used as a Māori burial ground;
– Land which has been set aside by the Court under section 338 of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 (or under section 439 of the Māori Affairs Act 1953)
– For the purposes of a Marae of meeting place that does not exceed 2 hectares; or
– A reservation set aside for the benefit of the people of New Zealand under section 340;
– Māori Freehold Land that does not exceed 2 hectares upon which a meeting house is erected;
– Māori Freehold Land that is, for the time being, non-rateable by virtue of an Order in Council

For more information you should talk to your local district and/or regional council.

View the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002

What do I do if I don’t agree with the Judges Decision?

If you do not agree with the decision made by the Court you can file an appeal.  Legal advice should be sought for this type of application. An appeal application can be lodged within two (2) months from the date of the hearing or within a period that the Māori Appellate Court allows.

If your question is not in this list, please contact your Māori Land Court district office. For further information, The Application Process booklet is available to download.

View the Information Booklet | The Application Process

Contact a Māori Land Court Office