What to expect after filing your application

Once your application reaches us we’ll begin the application process which consists of 6 main activities.

On this page:

  1. Confirmation your application is received or refused 
  2. Searching and drafting a submission for court 
  3. Notification to you of hearing or directions 
  4. Court hearing 
  5. Notification to you of hearing outcome 
  6. Copies of orders (if any) 

Confirmation your application is received or refused

We’ll review your application to ensure you’ve:

  • completed the required sections of your application
  • supplied us with any supporting documentation
  • complied with our legislation and rules.

If everything is in order, we’ll send you confirmation by mail or email to say we have received and are processing your application. We’ll also include a GST receipt for the application fee (if we haven’t already given you one).

Our letter will have an application reference number which you will need to quote whenever you interact with us – so please keep your application number handy.

We will normally notify you within 5 working days.

We will try to contact you if we are not going to accept your application. It may be that you haven’t supplied us with relevant information, or we need to clarify a part of your application before we can start processing it.

If we can’t accept your application, we will return it to you and refund money you have paid us, and let you know why it wasn’t accepted.

You can re-lodge your application at any time.

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Searching and drafting a submission for court

We will allocate your application to a case manager who will initiate a search of our records to pull together information that a judge may want to see to enable them to make a decision.

A search can involve:

  • undertaking an extensive check of our records to ensure that the Māori land listed in your application belongs to you (or the person you say it belongs to)
  • pulling together information about the owners or trustees of Māori land
  • collating information about different trusts or incorporations over Māori land
  • determining whether other applications have been lodged about the same matter or if any other hearings have dealt with the interests or land before.

Once completed, we will add this to the application file with a draft submission for a judge to consider. We will set out a summary of what you are seeking and list supporting information.

We will use the information and supporting documentation you have supplied to help us complete the search and submission.

If necessary we will contact you if we need to verify any information.

Depending on the type of application we could take up to 20 working days to complete our search process and draft an appropriate submission for consideration by a judge.

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Notification to you of hearing or directions

Once we have completed our search and put together the application file, we’ll normally seek approval from a judge to have your application set down for hearing at the next available normal sitting of the court.

Where a judge has considered our draft submission and the application file, we will notify you if the judge has:

  • issued any directions about your application that may require you or some other party to do something before a hearing or to supply additional information
  • decided not to proceed with your application until their direction has been completed by you or us.

When your application has been confirmed for hearing we will:

  • try to give you at least 14 days notice of the date, time and venue of the court hearing which will consider your application
  • for succession applications, supply you with a copy of our draft submission so you can confirm that we have included the correct beneficiaries and other information.

For some applications no formal hearing is required. We’ll let you know if that’s the case for your application.

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Court hearing

Your attendance to give or confirm evidence for your application is important. The court will want to confirm the information you have supplied and may want to hear from you about different issues.

If you are unable to attend a court hearing in person, please raise this with your case manager as soon as possible.

As long as we have plenty of notice, we can discuss attendance options with you which could include:

  • changing the time or date of the hearing
  • making provision for mobility access to the venue
  • ensuring that a translator is present if required
  • seeking approval from the judge to enable another whānau member to represent you because you can’t attend
  • making a home visit in extreme circumstances.

If you feel more comfortable you can bring whānau with you to support your application or, if you have legal representation, your lawyer can speak on your behalf.

You may speak either in English or in Te Reo Māori (or both) in any proceedings.

Hearings of the Māori Land Court and Māori Appellate Court are generally open to the public and anyone may sit in the room and listen to proceedings. This doesn’t give the public the right to speak or be heard at a hearing – they will need to ask the judge for permission to speak.

For most of our applications we try to keep things as informal as we can so don’t be afraid to ask us about the process before, during or after the hearing.

We’ll have staff available at hearings to walk you through the process if you need assistance or are unsure about what you need to do.

Find out more about hearing venues and dates 

Find out more about upcoming applications for hearing 

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Notification of hearing outcome

We will send or email you a copy of the written transcript or decision of the Court, called a minute, once it becomes available.

For normal applications this could take up to 20 working days following your hearing.

Minutes of the Court are public documents and can be viewed free of charge or copies can be supplied by any office of the court (at our counters, by mail or email) upon payment of the prescribed fee of 20c per A4 page. 

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Copies of orders (if any)

We will send you written copies of any order made by the Court once they become available.

Our rules require us to hold orders for a period of 2 months from the date of the hearing.  This is called the appeal period in which any person may appeal the findings of the court.

A judge may reduce this period of time; however you will need to seek leave to have your orders released earlier.

We will make the appropriate changes in our system to reflect any court order and, if changes are required to the Land Information New Zealand held title or survey of a block, we will arrange for those changes to be made without cost to you.

Orders of the Court are public documents and can be viewed for free or copies can be supplied by any office of the court (at our counters, by mail or email) upon payment of the prescribed fee of 20c per A4 page.

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