Did You Hear About That Muttonbirding Case?

May 3, 2016

After a long journey in the High Court, Rakiura Māori were granted customary marine title over islands that they carried out muttonbirding, Pohowaitai and Tamaitemioka in 2016.1

The process started in 2011 when Mr Tipene’s case was moved from the Māori Land Court to the High Court under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011.2

Under the Act, whānau, hapū and iwi can now have their customary rights in the foreshore and seabed recognised – and restores customary interests extinguished under the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 (now repealed). To be granted title, Mr Tipene had to prove that Rakiura Māori had used the two islands to gather kaimoana since te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed in 1840.3

The diagram below shows the Re Tipene High Court process Mr Tipene went through to have Rakiura Māori granted a recognition order.

Some 230 whānau, hapū and iwi representative groups have applied to the High Court for recognition orders. All of the applications have now been grouped in accordance with the geographical area claimed. The interlocutory process moving forward will be to determine which groups have met the criteria and have standing to continue through to hearing.

While applications closed on 3 April 2017, we are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Re Tipene High Court Process Diagram

NOTE: This diagram is not representative of all cases.
For a general diagram please click here.

Where can you find other related articles?

‘Lessons from Re Tipene [2016]’

1 Re Tipene [2016] NZHC 3199 [Re Tipene [2016] NZHC 3199 [22 December 2016]]
2 Ibid, at [45].
3 Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011, s58.

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about the author

Kelly Dixon


Kelly specialises in civil litigation and in providing strategic advice on private law matters as well as the full range of hapū and iwi governance issues.


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