History of the Māori Land Court

Cover image of 150 years of the Māori Land Court

Pou hihiri
Pou rarama
Tēnā te pou
Te pou herenga tangata
Te pou herenga whenua
Te pou ka toko
Te pou ka hiki
Te pou ka eke tū tārewa ki ngā rangi tāwhaowhao

Ūtaina atu ngā kōrero nei
Mā te pūreirei tōngakengake
ki te whakahaumanu i te pou
o taku whare kōrero

Tōtoro te pūhina o te ata hāpara
o te ata kura
o te ata tū
Ki ngā taiwhenua
ki ngā papa kāinga
ki te one e karapinepine tonu i a tātou
Kia whakataukihia
‘Whatungarongaro te tangata, toitū te whenua’

Ko te whakahu tenei a Te Kooti Whenua Māori
Ū te pou, māia te pou
Hui te mārama, hui te ora
Hui ē, Tāiki e!

The modern Māori Land Court exists in an environment that is significantly different to that in which was created on 30 October 1865 by the General Assembly of the New Zealand Colony under the Native Lands Act 1865.

We were established to convert customary Māori land into titles which could be acquired, initially by the colonial government and later by individual settlers. Since the passing of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993, our role is to:

  • promote the retention of Māori land in the hands of its owners, whānau and hapū
  • facilitate the occupation, development and use of Māori land
  • ensure that decisions made about Māori land are fair and balanced taking into account the needs of all the owners and their beneficiaries.

On 30 October 2015 we turned 150 and to mark that milestone we produced a publication called ‘He Pou Herenga Tangata, He Pou Herenga Whenua, He Pou Whare Kōrero – 150 Years of the Māori Land Court’

Our publication provides a detailed history of the origins of the Native Land Court and looks at the role of the Court over its 150 year history. Importantly, it also tells the story of the modern Māori Land Court, who we are, what we do, and what motivates us to provide a high level of service to Māori land owners.

Find out more about our history:

He Pou Herenga Tangata, He Pou Herenga Whenua, He Pou Whare Kōrero – 150 Years of the Māori Land Court [PDF, 11 MB]

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