When a landowner dies, it is important to transfer his or her Māori land interests to the person(s) that are entitled to receive those interests. They are called the successors and the process is called succession.

To legally transfer the land interests of a deceased person to his or her successors, a succession order is issued by the Māori Land Court.



The person(s) entitled to receive the land interests are set out in sections 108 and 109 of the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.
Successors include:
– The children (includes legally adopted and may include whāngai)
– If the landowner had no children, the successors are their natural brothers and sisters.
– If there are no children or siblings then the Court will make a determination as to who the beneficiaries are.

View Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993


Surviving partner

A surviving partner is entitled to an interest for his or her lifetime or until remarriage or civil union or de facto relationship.
The interests will be transferred to the successors upon his or her death or remarriage or civil union or de facto relationship.
A surviving spouse or civil union partner is not entitled if there is a legal separation order in force at the time and a de facto partner may only be entitled by will to a life interest.

Frequently Asked Questions | Succession 

View the Information Booklet | Succession

View the Application Form | Succession