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Māori Legal Issues

With over 30 years’ combined experience in Māori legal issues, our lawyers can provide you with legal advice to meet your needs, delivering results for you in a practical, no-nonsense and cost-effective manner.

Te Tiriti O Waitangi Issues

We provide clients with advice in all aspects of Tiriti o Waitangi claims. We have experience representing claimants before the Waitangi Tribunal in historical Inquiries, Urgency Inquiries and Kaupapa Inquiries. 

Kaupapa Inquiries deal with nationally significant issues that affect Māori and are not limited or specific to any one district or rohe. Recently completed Inquiries, which we represented a client in, include the urgent Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki Inquiry (Wai 2915), Stage 1 Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry (Wai 2575), and priority Inquiry into the Crown’s vaccination strategy and shift to the COVID-19 Protection Framework. The reports for these Inquiries can be found here at Waitangi Tribunal reports.

Clients We Represent

Our clients include hapū, whānau and large Māori based organisations and Māori businesses.

We represent clients in the following kaupapa inquiries, which have commenced or are ongoing in 2023:

  • EWai 3060 Justice System Inquiry
  • EWai 2700 Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry
  • EWai 2750 Housing Policy and Services Inquiry
  • EWai 2575 Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry
  • EWai 2500 Military Veterans Inquiry

Māori Land Law

The Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 (“TTWMA”) defines Māori land as a taonga tuku iho, which is of special significance to Māori people. The purpose of TTWMA is to protect wāhi tapu and promote the retention of Māori land in the hands of its owners, their whānau, and their hapū, as well as to facilitate the development, occupation, and utilisation of that land for the benefit of its owners and their families.

We are experienced in all aspects of Māori Land Law including formation of land trusts, Māori land succession, partition and easement issues. We have extensive experience and expertise dealing with Māori businesses, Trusts and Tribal organisations.

The Māori Land Court has the special jurisdiction to hear matters relating to Māori land. Most dealings with Māori land will require a Court Order, such as a succession order transferring interests of a deceased person to their successors.

An application will need to be made to the Court, which will be considered by the Court prior to any order being made.

How We Can Assist You With Your Māori Land Court Matters

  • EAdvise on and assist you with transferring ownership of Māori land, either through sale or gifting of the land or after the owner has died
  • EAdvise you on the different management structures available and assist with your application to the Court
  • EWe can advise on and assist with your application to the Court for Partition or Occupation Orders, licence to occupy, leases or title improvements; and
  • EAdvise you with advice on rates and Māori land

    Need some assistance with Māori legal issues?

    Post-Settlement Governance Structuring

    A Post Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE) is an entity that receives and manages assets received from the Crown as part of an iwi settlement with the Crown under te Tiriti o Waitangi. A PSGE is a necessary pre-cursor to settlement negotiations with the Crown.  While a PSGE can take a number of forms, the most common is as a private trust, established and governed by a trust deed.

    We can assist with establishing legal entities and structures that will assist with negotiating your settlement and beyond that phase to Post-Settlement Governance establishment and commercial advice, including the best structure for your needs and how to achieve the results you seek.

    māori legal issues

    Who We Help

    We provide expert advice to Māori organisations, including national, regional, iwi and hapū organisations, incorporations and not-for-profit entities, and Māori owned businesses.

    Our expertise is in providing legal and strategic advice for those wishing to engage with Māori and the growing Māori economy.  We can assist you with all legal aspects of your engagement and negotiation strategies, as well as operation.

    A boy holding a pinwheel with hills, a beach, and clear sky background. A Maori Legal case study - Court upholds wishes of kaumatua.

    Court upholds wishes of kaumatua to find agreement enforceable

    Craig Solomon and Vanessa Wilkinson sought a determination that an agreement entered into with Te Haumarangai Hector Ngapu Connor for the purchase of Māori land (one hectare of Māori freehold land) was a binding contract.

    Tips & Advice

    Key learnings when dealing with freehold Māori land.

    Key Learnings When Dealing With Freehold Māori Land

    If owners of Māori land want to sell or gift their interest in the land, they must first notify and ...
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    Articles

    Image of a house -Building Papakāinga On Your Whenua

    Building Papakāinga On Your Whenua

    Being able to build Papakāinga on your whenua is a great way for Māori to feel reconnected with their turangawaewae ...
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    Mana Whakahono A Rohe Process - resource management & decision-making.

    Mana Whakahono A Rohe Process

    The Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 has made significant amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 that largely came into ...
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    Muttonbirding case, granting Rakiura Māori marine title over their muttonbirding islands.

    Did You Hear About That Muttonbirding Case?

    After a long journey in the High Court, Rakiura Māori were granted customary marine title over islands that they carried ...
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