Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993
Maori Land Act 1993

  • not the latest version

Reprint as at 1 April 2014

Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993
Maori Land Act 1993

Public Act1993 No 4
Date of assent21 March 1993
Commencementsee section 1(2)


Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this official reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by Te Puni Kōkiri.



1 Short Title and commencement

2 Interpretation of Act generally

3 Interpretation of Maori terms [Repealed]

4 Interpretation

5 Act to bind the Crown

Part 1
The Maori Land Court

Constitution of court

6 Maori Land Court to continue

7 Appointment of Judges

7A Judges act on full-time basis but may be authorised to act part-time

8 Chief Judge and deputy

8A Delegation to Deputy Chief Judge

9 Appointment of temporary Judges

10 Former Judges

11 Certificate by Chief Judge and 1 other Judge prerequisite

12 Tenure of office

12A Judges to have immunities of High Court Judges

13 Salaries and allowances of Judges

14 Administration of court

15 Court districts

16 Seal of court

Objectives, jurisdiction, and powers

17 General objectives

18 General jurisdiction of court

19 Jurisdiction in respect of injunctions

20 Jurisdiction in actions for recovery of land

21 Power of court to grant relief against forfeiture

22 Power of court to grant relief against refusal to grant renewal

22A Power of court to grant specific performance of leases of Maori freehold land

23 Power of court to authorise entry for erecting or repairing buildings, etc

24 Power of court to grant relief if building is on wrong land or encroachment exists

24A Powers of court under Contracts (Privity) Act 1982 and Contractual Remedies Act 1979

24B Power to award interest on debt or damages

25 Power of court to make order to restore effect of lost instruments of alienation

26 Jurisdiction of court under Fencing Act 1978

Jurisdiction of court under Maori Fisheries Act 2004

26A Interpretation

26B Advisory jurisdiction of court

26C Jurisdiction of court to make determinations

26D Principles applying to exercise of jurisdiction in relation to Maori Fisheries Act 2004

26E Procedure of court in its advisory jurisdiction

26F Procedure of court in making determinations

26G Powers of court if application referred under section 26F(3)(b)

26H Appointment of mediator

26I Judge appointed as mediator

26J Conduct of mediation

26K Successful mediation

26L Unsuccessful mediation

26M Orders and interim orders

26N Proceedings where additional members appointed

Jurisdiction of court under Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004

26O Interpretation

26P Advisory jurisdiction of court

26Q Jurisdiction of court to make determinations

26R Principles applying to exercise of jurisdiction in relation to Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004

26S Procedure of court in its advisory jurisdiction

26T Procedure of court in making determinations

26U Powers of court if application referred under section 26T(3)(b)

26V Appointment of mediator

26W Judge appointed as mediator

26X Conduct of mediation

26Y Successful mediation

26Z Unsuccessful mediation

26ZA Orders and interim orders

26ZB Proceedings where additional members appointed

27 Governor-General may confer special jurisdiction

28 Additional members for purposes of court’s special jurisdiction

29 Reference to court for inquiry

30 Maori Land Court’s jurisdiction to advise on or determine representation of Maori groups

30A Intent of sections

30A Review of representatives [Repealed]

30B Powers of Judge in addressing requests for advice

30C Powers of Judge in addressing applications for determination

30D Appointment of mediator

30E Conduct of mediation

30F Successful mediation

30G Unsuccessful mediation

30H Orders

30I Review of advice or determination

30J Definition of persons affected

31 Additional members for purposes of inquiry

32 Additional members in relation to matter of tikanga Maori

33 Additional members in relation to matter of representation

34 Oath to be taken by additional member

35 Fees and allowances

36 Quorum and decisions

37 Exercise of jurisdiction generally

38 Powers of court may be exercised by any Judge

39 Powers of Registrars

40 Power of Judge to refer matter to Registrar

Orders and rehearings

41 Orders to be pronounced in open court, and minute recorded

42 Commencement of orders

43 Rehearings

Special powers of Chief Judge

44 Chief Judge may correct mistakes and omissions

45 Applications for exercise of special powers

46 Powers of Chief Judge in respect of applications

47 Administrative and consequential matters

48 Matters already finalised or pending

Exercise of powers by Deputy Chief Judge

48A Deputy Chief Judge may exercise special powers of Chief Judge

Right of appeal against exercise of special powers

49 Appeals

Part 2
The Maori Appellate Court

Constitution of court

50 Maori Appellate Court to continue

51 Constitution of court

52 Officers of Maori Land Court to be officers of Maori Appellate Court

53 Seal

Procedural provisions

54 Successive appeals in respect of same matter

55 Appeals to be by way of rehearing

56 Powers of court on appeal

57 Decision of majority to be decision of court

Jurisdiction and orders

58 Appeals from Maori Land Court

58A Further appeal to Court of Appeal from Maori Appellate Court

58B Direct appeal to Supreme Court from Maori Appellate Court in exceptional circumstances

59 Appeals from provisional determinations

60 Maori Land Court may state case for Maori Appellate Court

61 High Court may state case for Maori Appellate Court

62 Additional members with knowledge and experience in tikanga Maori

63 Quorum and decision of court

64 Commencement of orders

Part 3
Provisions relating to both courts

65 Application

Procedural provisions

66 Conduct of proceedings generally

67 Powers of Judge to call conference and give directions

68 Parties and witnesses may use Maori language

69 Evidence in proceedings

70 Representation of parties, etc

71 Court may amend proceedings

72 Case may be stated for High Court

General provisions as to orders

73 Orders may be made subject to conditions

74 Orders not invalid for want of form, etc

75 Orders nominally in favour of deceased persons

76 Persons bound by orders affecting land

77 Orders affecting Maori land conclusive after 10 years

78 Exemptions from stamp duty [Repealed]

79 Orders as to costs

80 Taxation of costs

81 Enforcement of orders for payment of money

82 Charging orders

83 Appointment of receiver to enforce charges, etc

84 Court may order repayment out of money held by trustee, etc

85 Enforcement by High Court of injunctions

Amendment of orders, warrants, and records

86 Amendment of orders, warrants, etc

87 Amendment of names of land owners in court records and titles

88 Amendment or cancellation of orders not to affect acquired rights

Contempt of court

89 Failure to comply with summons, etc

90 Power to remove for contempt

91 Obstructing officers of court

Rules of court

92 Constitution of Rules Committee

93 Fees and travelling allowances

94 Principal function of Rules Committee

95 Rules of court


96 Regulations

Miscellaneous provisions

97 Practice notes

98 Maori Land Court Special Aid Fund

Part 4
Administration of estates

99 Interpretation

100 Application of this Part

101 General law to apply subject to this Part

Grant of administration and settlement of claims

102 Jurisdiction of High Court continued

103 Jurisdiction of High Court where administration granted by Maori Land Court

104 Liability of Maori land for payment of debts of estate

105 Duty payable on succession to Maori land [Repealed]

106 Special provisions relating to testamentary promises and family protection

107 Special provisions relating to status of children, etc

Distribution of estates

108 Disposition by will

109 Succession to Maori freehold land on intestacy

109A Succession to ota whakanoho on intestacy

110 Succession on intestacy to property other than Maori land

111 Interests in General land of deceased Maori

112 Transmission of Maori land to administrator

113 Maori Land Court to determine beneficial entitlements to Maori land

114 Succession to Maori land on intestacy where no person primarily entitled

115 Court may make provision for whangai

116 Court may make special provision relating to income

117 Vesting in persons beneficially entitled following grant of administration

118 Vesting in persons beneficially entitled where no grant of administration

118A Circumstances when certain assets and payments must be held in trust

118B Circumstances when certain transfers and payments must be held in trust

119 Court’s powers in relation to whanau and putea trusts

119A Vesting of ota whakanoho

120 Special succession fee where death occurred before 1 April 1968

121 Special provisions relating to succession to shares in Maori incorporations

Part 5
Recording of ownership

122 Application of Part

123 Orders affecting title to Maori freehold land to be registered

124 Special provisions where insufficient survey plan

125 Alterations in registration of title

125A Alteration to land appellation

126 No registration without prior confirmation

127 Registrar of court to record ownership

128 Court may issue declaratory consolidated order

Part 6
Status of land

129 All land to have particular status for purposes of Act

130 Certain status not to change except in limited circumstances

131 Court may determine status of land

132 Change from Maori customary land to Maori freehold land by vesting order

133 Change from General land or General land owned by Maori to Maori freehold land by status order

134 Change to Maori freehold land by vesting order on change of ownership

135 Change from Maori land to General land by status order

136 Power to change status of Maori land owned by not more than 10 persons

137 Power to change status of Maori land

138 Alternative or additional power of court

139 Registration of vesting orders where land formerly Maori customary land

140 Registration of other orders

141 Effect of vesting orders upon registration

142 Effect of status orders upon registration

143 Other land deemed Maori freehold land for succession purposes in certain circumstances

144 Maori customary land deemed Crown land for certain purposes

Part 7
Alienation of Maori land

145 Maori customary land inalienable

146 Alienation of Maori freehold land

147 Alienation of whole or part of block

147A Right of first refusal for sale or gift

148 Alienation of undivided interests

149 Alienation of equitable interests

150 Manner of alienation of interests in Maori freehold land

150A Alienation by trustees

150B Alienation by Maori incorporation

150C Alienation by other owners

150D Life interests

Part 8
Duties and powers of court in relation to alienations of Maori freehold land


151 Application for confirmation

152 Court to grant confirmation if satisfied of certain matters

153 Court’s general discretion [Repealed]

154 Grounds on which court may refuse confirmation [Repealed]

155 Manner of confirmation

156 Effect of confirmation

157 Execution of instrument of alienation to give effect to resolution

158 Special valuation required except in special cases

159 Proceeds of alienation to be paid to Māori Trustee, court appointed agent, or trustees

160 Certain instruments require only certificate of confirmation by Registrar

161 Certain instruments require only noting by Registrar [Repealed]

162 Failure to act on resolution

163 Jurisdiction of High Court to rectify instruments

Vesting orders

164 Transfer of land or undivided interest by court vesting orders

165 Vesting of interest held in representative capacity

166 Other powers of court to make vesting orders preserved

167 Interests to remain subject to existing charges after vesting

168 Liability of vesting orders to conveyance duty [Repealed]

Part 9
Powers of assembled owners

169 Application of this Part

170 Owners and assembled owners defined

171 Sale of timber, etc, to constitute alienation for purposes of this Part

172 Matters that may be dealt with by assembled owners

173 Calling of meetings

174 Notice of meetings

175 Confirmation required

176 Court may confirm resolution passed at informal family gathering

177 Security for calling meeting to reconsider rejected proposal

178 Court may review meeting

179 Regulations

Part 10
Representation of owners of Maori land

180 Purpose of this Part

181 Notice to owners of Maori land may be given to Registrar in certain cases

182 Action of court on receipt of notice

183 Court may appoint agent of owners for purposes of notices, etc

184 Provisions applicable where meeting of owners to be summoned

185 Appointment of agents for purposes of alienation, etc

186 Order of appointment

187 Powers of agents

188 Service of notice on agents

189 Court may call for account

190 Costs of agents

191 Termination of agency

Part 11

192 Interpretation

193 Application of provisions of Part 11

194 Leases not to contain option to purchase

195 Māori Trustee to exercise certain powers and duties if no other agent appointed

196 Execution of renewals

197 Appointment of valuers for purposes of lease

198 Enforcement of covenants of lease

199 Assignment or sublease of lease

200 Execution of instruments

201 Valuations for revision of rent

202 New rent payable pending objections

203 Apportionment of rent

204 Service of notices

205 Special savings provision

206 Application of sections 207 to 209

207 Compensation to be ascertained by valuation

208 Notice of valuation and right of objection

209 Record of improvements, etc

Part 12

210 Interpretation

Constitution of trusts

211 Maori Land Court to have exclusive jurisdiction

212 Putea trusts in respect of land interests

213 Interests of beneficiaries of putea trust

214 Whanau trusts

215 Ahu whenua trusts

216 Whenua topu trusts

217 Kai tiaki trusts

218 Maori community purposes

219 Trust order

220 Vesting order

220A Registration of land in name of trust or tipuna

221 Power of court to amalgamate trusts

Appointment and powers of trustees

222 Appointment of trustees

223 General functions of responsible trustees

224 Special provisions where advisory trustee appointed

225 Special provisions where custodian trustee appointed

226 General powers of trustees

227 Trustees may act by majority

227A Interested trustees

228 Trustees’ powers of alienation [Repealed]

Miscellaneous provisions relating to trusts constituted under this Part

229 Court may authorise new ventures

230 Keeping of accounts

231 Review of trusts

232 Reports of trustees of kai tiaki trusts

233 Reports required where Māori Trustee trustee of kai tiaki trust

234 Kai tiaki trusts to be reviewed periodically

235 Trusts not subject to rule against perpetuities

Provisions relating to trusts generally

236 Application of sections 237 to 245

237 Jurisdiction of court generally

238 Enforcement of obligations of trust

239 Addition, reduction, and replacement of trustees

240 Removal of trustee

241 Termination of trust

242 Orders for payment of money held in trust

243 Acquisition of land by trustees

244 Variation of trust

245 Power of court to approve charitable trust

Part 13
Maori incorporations

246 Interpretation

Constitution and powers

247 Owners may be incorporated

248 Terms of order

249 Court to fix total number of shares

250 Effect of order

251 Inclusion in incorporation of owners of additional Maori land

252 Incorporations may be amalgamated

253 Capacity and powers of incorporation

253A Power to impose limitations or restrictions on powers of incorporation

254 Incorporation’s powers of alienation [Repealed]

255 Certain instruments require noting by Registrar [Repealed]

256 Acquisition of land by incorporation

257 Allocation of land to shareholders

258 Power to declare charitable trust

259 Application of revenues

Shares and dividends

260 Nature of shares in incorporation

261 Equitable interests not to be separately dealt with

262 Shareholders not personally liable

263 Incorporation to have share register

264 Method of transfer of shares

265 Special rules relating to share registration in certain cases

266 Procedure where court makes order relating to ownership of shares

267 Unclaimed dividends

Internal management

268 Maori incorporations to have constitution

269 Committee of management

270 Manner in which powers are to be exercised

271 Effect of exercise of powers

272 Qualification, disqualification, and removal of members

273 Election of chairman of committee and appointment of secretary

274 Expenses and remuneration of members of committee

274A Interested members

275 Conduct of meetings of shareholders

276 Accounting records to be kept

276A Financial statements must be prepared

276B Financial statements must be filed

277 Appointment and duties of auditor

278 Appointment of share valuer

278A Adjustment of shareholding

Duties and powers of court

279 Register of Maori incorporations

280 Investigation of incorporation’s affairs

281 Power of court to require officers to attend to explain non-compliance with statutory requirements

282 Winding up of incorporation

283 Disposal of land on winding up of incorporation

284 Regulations

Part 14
Title reconstruction and improvement

285 Interpretation

286 Purpose of this Part

287 Jurisdiction of courts

288 Matters to be considered


289 Partition orders

290 Modes of partition

291 Discretionary powers of court in making partitions

292 Allotment of interests on partition

293 Power to award additional land as compensation for improvements, etc

294 Saving of interests charged on partitioned land

295 Court may apportion rights and obligations

296 Dwelling sites for Maori

297 Partition orders may be made in respect of land held in trust

298 Partition of combined areas

299 Registration of partition orders

300 Plan approved by court prerequisite to partition of Maori land

301 Compliance with provisions of Resource Management Act 1991 relating to subdivisions

302 Contributions for reserve purposes

303 Subdivision consent and conditions of subdivision consent

304 Power to impose restrictions in respect of other partitions

305 Reserves contributions, roads, etc [Repealed]

306 Cancellation of partition orders

Amalgamation and aggregation

307 Amalgamation orders

308 Aggregation orders

309 Orders to specify relative interests of owners

Exchange orders

310 Court may make exchange orders

311 Land and interests that may be exchanged

312 Conditions precedent to making of exchange orders

313 Effect of exchange order

314 Money payable by way of equality of exchange to be charge on land

Easements and roadways

315 Court may create easements

315A Court may cancel or vary easements

316 Court may lay out roadways

317 Required consents

318 Effect of laying out roadway

319 Compensation in respect of roadway

320 Roadways may be declared roads or streets

321 Land that has been used but not set apart as a road may be declared a road or street

322 Court may cancel roadways

323 Powers of court on cancellation of roadway

324 Unused road or street over Maori land may be stopped by court

325 Court may make vesting orders for lands comprised in roads or streets stopped otherwise than under foregoing provisions

326 Alienation of land to include alienation of interest in roadway giving access to that land

Landlocked Maori land

326A Meaning of certain terms

326B Reasonable access may be granted in cases of landlocked Maori land

326C Conditions and other matters

326D Additional provisions relating to orders under sections 326B or 326C

327 Part 21 of Local Government Act 1974 modified in its application to Maori land [Repealed]

Part 15
Occupation orders

328 Occupation orders

329 Matters to be considered

330 Power to amend or cancel occupation order

330A Review of occupation orders

331 Regulations

Part 16
Surveys of Maori land

332 Power to require surveys

333 Power of court to make charging orders on land in respect of costs of survey

334 Interest on survey charges

335 Power of Minister of Lands to remit survey charges

336 Contribution from owners in respect of surveys

337 Survey notices

Part 17
Maori reservations

338 Maori reservations for communal purposes

338A Regulations relating to trustees of Maori reservations

339 Court may consider proposal for Maori reservation on application of Minister

340 Maori reservation may be held for common use and benefit of people of New Zealand

341 Further provisions relating to Maori reservation for marae or meeting place

Part 18
Miscellaneous provisions

342 Protection of Maori land against execution for debt

343 Maori land available in bankruptcy

344 Co-owners of Maori land not bound by Limitation Act 2010 or other limitation enactments

345 Presumptions as to Maori freehold land held by 2 or more owners

346 Prevention of waste on Maori land

347 Orders in Council and Proclamations affecting title to be registered

Transitional and consequential provisions

348 Savings of effect of Land Titles Protection Act 1908

349 Declaratory Judgments Act 1908 not affected

350 Trustees of persons under disability

351 Periodic review of trusts constituted under section 438 of Maori Affairs Act 1953

352 Representation of owners of Maori land

353 Existing trusts of Maori land not affected

354 Existing trusts to continue as ahu whenua trusts

355 Provision for completion of sales and subdivisions

356 Part 9 not to apply to Maori reserves

357 Maori incorporations in existence at commencement of Act

358 Land acquired by Maori incorporation before commencement of Act

358A Transitional provisions in relation to objects of Maori incorporations

359 Provisions of certain enactments not affected by this Act

360 Application of Limitation Act 1950 to Maori customary land [Repealed]

361 Limitation of actions in relation to Maori customary land [Repealed]

362 Amendments and repeals

Schedule 1
Enactments amended

Schedule 2
Enactments repealed

Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Act 2006Maori Land Amendment Act 2006

Disability (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) Act 2008

Reprint notes

An Act to reform the laws relating to Maori land in accordance with the principles set out in the Preamble

  • Preamble

    Nā te mea i riro nā te Tiriti o Waitangi i motuhake ai te noho a te iwi me te Karauna: ā, nā te mea e tika ana kia whakaūtia anō te wairua o te wā i riro atu ai te kāwanatanga kia riro mai ai te mau tonu o te rangatiratanga e takoto nei i roto i te Tiriti o Waitangi: ā, nā te mea e tika ana kia mārama ko te whenua he taonga tuku iho e tino whakaaro nuitia ana e te iwi Māori, ā, nā tērā he whakahau kia mau tonu taua whenua ki te iwi nōna, ki ō rātou whānau, hapū hoki, a, a ki te whakangungu i ngā wāhi tapu hei whakamāmā i te nohotanga, i te whakahaeretanga, i te whakamahitanga o taua whenua hei painga mō te hunga nōna, mō ō rātou whānau, hapū hoki: ā, nā te mea e tika ana kia tū tonu he Te Kooti, ā, kia whakatakototia he tikanga hei āwhina i te iwi Māori kia taea ai ēnei kaupapa te whakatinana.

    Whereas the Treaty of Waitangi established the special relationship between the Maori people and the Crown: And whereas it is desirable that the spirit of the exchange of kawanatanga for the protection of rangatiratanga embodied in the Treaty of Waitangi be reaffirmed: And whereas it is desirable to recognise that land is a taonga tuku iho of special significance to Maori people and, for that reason, to promote the retention of that land in the hands of its owners, their whanau, and their hapu, and to protect wahi tapu: and to facilitate the occupation, development, and utilisation of that land for the benefit of its owners, their whanau, and their hapu: And whereas it is desirable to maintain a court and to establish mechanisms to assist the Maori people to achieve the implementation of these principles.

    Preamble: amended, on 1 July 2002, by section 3(1)(a) of Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Act 2002 (2002 No 16).

    Preamble: amended, on 1 July 2002, by section 3(1)(b) of Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Act 2002 (2002 No 16).

    Preamble: amended, on 1 July 2002, by section 3(2) of Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Act 2002 (2002 No 16).