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Source: New Zealand Government

Māori land owners will find it easier to improve housing opportunities for whānau with amendments to the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 coming into force on Waitangi Day 2021.

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson says, the amendments to the legislation governing 1.4 million hectares of Māori freehold land will remove long standing barriers to the development and use of papakāinga housing on Māori land.

“Previously, Māori land owners have been hamstrung with unique challenges to developing their land. These amendments along with the other initiatives this Government has led will help whānau and Māori utilise their land and participate  in our economy more effectively.”

The amendments to Te Ture Whenua will make it easier for Māori land owners to build and raise finance for papakāinga housing, marae and other Māori reservation land. Previously, an occupation license could only be granted by trustees for up to 14 years, with no right of renewal. The amendment will remove this hurdle.

The amendments to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act are: 

  • A succession application amendment means, uncontested succession applications will be able to be decided by a Māori Land Court registrar instead of a MLC judge.
  • The succession and descendants amendment will simplify some of the legal requirements that Māori land owners face when looking to succeed to their whenua.
  • A dispute resolution amendment lets owners who have a legal dispute, can use a new, tikanga-based mediation service instead of going straight to a court hearing.
  • An occupation orders amendment that allows Māori land owners to build houses on Māori freehold and general land owned by Māori.
  • The supporting papakāinga housing amendment will make it easier to secure finance for papakāinga housing developments on marae and other Māori reservation land.
  • The Māori Land Court role extension amendment, judges from the MLC will be better placed to assess the cultural implications on Māori land.
  • The simple and uncontested trust applications amendment means uncontested trust can be dealt with by a Māori Land Court registrar instead of a MLC judge.

“These changes will promote the retention and use of Māori land and ensure decisions made about land are fair and balanced, taking into account the needs of all the owners and their beneficiaries.”

For more details on the amendments to Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993, click here.