Applications relating to trusts & incorporations

There are a range of applications that you can make with us that apply to a trust or incorporation.

These include (but are not limited to) the following types of applications for a trust:

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Or the following types of application for an Incorporation:

Unlike trusts, our authority to deal directly with an incorporation is limited to the above applications. We would encourage you to seek independent legal advice when considering proceeding with incorporation related applications.

Review of trust

A review of trust is owner or trustee initiated ‘warrant of fitness’ test for the trust. It is an opportunity for you to have a judge review the:

  • day-to-day management of the trust
  • financial management of the trust
  • documentation of the trust
  • trust order – are the terms of trust still suitable?

The trustees will be invited to file information and reports about the trust and appear to discuss how the trust is working.

If everything is in order, the judge may confirm the review and agree on a time in the future for another review.

If a judge has concerns they may ask for:

  • more information about a certain activity
  • more documentation to support any decisions being made
  • a meeting of owners to be called to receive management and financial reports and, where necessary, replace or elect trustees

You may only seek to review a trust once in any 2 year period.

To review a trust, we will ask you:

  1. to fill in an application for a review of trust on the general form of application
    Form 1 - General form of application [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include documentation which supports your request for a review
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $60

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Enforcement of obligations of trust

Trustees must act within the law and adhere to the terms of their trust order.

Where you have concerns that trustees are not acting in accordance with the trust order we  encourage you to discuss your concerns directly with those trustees.

If, following engagement with the trustees you:

  • remain concerned about their adherence to the trust order, or
  • have reason to believe that their action, or inaction, may lead to serious consequences for the trust.

You may apply to ask a judge to enforce the obligations of the trustees.

You must provide evidence as to why you believe the trustees have been acting in a way that breaches their trust order.

If a judge is satisfied there is sufficient evidence to proceed, they may require the trustees to file a report or appear for questioning on any matter relating to the administration of the trust.

We would encourage you to seek independent legal advice when considering whether or not to proceed with this type of enforcement.

To seek to enforce the obligations of a trust, we will ask you:

  1. to fill in an application for a review of trust on the general form of application
    Form 1 - General form of application [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include documentation which supports your request for enforcement of obligations
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $60 

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Add, reduce, replace or remove trustees

You may lodge an application with us at any time to add, reduce, replace or remove the trustees of any Māori land trust or Māori reservation.

When making an application you would need to provide us with evidence that:

  • a meeting of the beneficiaries of the trust was properly advertised on the question of the addition, replacement or removal of trustees
  • attendance and minutes were kept of the meeting
  • any new trustees have signed a consent to becoming a trustee
  • a trustee or trustees have resigned (if any)
  • a trustee or trustees have died (if any)
  • a trustee or trustees should be removed for other reasons.

To add, reduce, replace or remove trustees, we will ask you:

  1. to fill in an application to add, reduce, replace or remove trustees
    Form 38 - Application to add, reduce, replace or remove trustees [PDF, 94 KB]
  2. also include copies of the following documents (where necessary):
    1. written consents for new trustees using Document B1 - Consent to be appointed a trustee [PDF, 124 KB]
    2. resignations (if any) for existing trustees
    3. evidence that a trustee or trustees have passed away
    4. evidence to show a trustee should be removed
    5. evidence of any meetings called to add, reduce, replace or remove trustees
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $60

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Terminate a trust

The beneficiaries of a trust may make an application to:

  • partially terminate a trust – in respect of some shares in a trust
  • fully terminate a trust and re-vest any land or shares in those persons who placed their shares in the trust or their descendants.

Any decision to terminate or partially terminate a trust would need to be supported by the majority of beneficiaries and a properly called meeting of the trust if all written consents are not to hand.

We will ask you to support your application with appropriate evidence to demonstrate that support as well as information about who will receive the shares.

To terminate a trust, we will ask you:

  1. to fill in an application to terminate a trust on our general application form –
    Form 1 - General form of application [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include copies of the following documents:
    1. written consents of the trustees
    2. written consents of the beneficiaries
    3. evidence of any meetings called to terminate the trust
    4. a schedule of land to be removed from the trust and to who those shares will be transferred
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $60

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Payment of funds held by a trust

If you find that a trust, company, accountant, government agency, Māori Trustee or other person is holding money for you, and that money has come from Māori land, you can apply to ask a judge make an order for payment of the money to those people entitled.

We normally make orders for payment of funds held at the time of a succession when we are made aware that money is being held.

You can seek a further order for payment at any time when and if any further money is located.

To seek a payment of funds held in trust, we will ask you:

  1. to fill in an application for an order to pay funds held in trust on our general application form
    Form 1 - General form of application [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include copies of the following documents:
    1. evidence of funds held in trust, how much and by whom
    2. evidence that the funds are held in trust for you or the beneficiaries of a trust
    3. a schedule of persons entitled to that payment
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $20

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Vary the terms of the trust

Trustees must manage any land or interests in land that they hold in accordance with the terms of the trust order.

You, the trustees or the beneficiaries may seek an amendment to those terms to limit, widen or clarify any powers and responsibilities under which the trust is managed.

You will need to demonstrate there is sufficient support for any amendments.

To vary the terms of a trust, we will ask you:

  1. to fill in an application for variation of the terms of trust on our general application form
    Form 1 - General form of application [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include copies of the following documents:
    1. a list of proposed changes
    2. evidence of any meetings called to consider the proposed changes
    3. evidence to show general support for the proposed changes
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $60

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Removal from office of a committee of management member

Any shareholder of a Māori Incorporation may seek the removal of a committee of management member only on the following grounds, they have:

  • Failed to carry out their duties satisfactorily
  • Breached any provisions of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993
  • Breached any provisions of the constitution of the incorporation
  • Acted in a manner that is incompatible with membership on the committee

You must demonstrate to the satisfaction of a judge that there is sufficient cause and that it is in the best interests of the incorporation to remove the member.

To remove a committee of management member from office, we will ask you:

  1. to fill in an application the removal from office of a committee of management member on our general application form –
    Form 1 - General form of application [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include copies of the following documents:
    1. evidence to demonstrate that they have failed to carry out their duties, breached our Act or the constitution or acted in a manner that is incompatible with membership on the committee
    2. evidence of any meetings (or attempts to call a meeting) to consider the proposed removal
    3. evidence to show general support for the proposed removal
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $200

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Appointment of a committee of management member

Any shareholder of a Māori Incorporation may seek the appointment of a suitably qualified person to a committee of management where, following an SGM or AGM, a vacancy on the committee has not been filled.

You must demonstrate to the satisfaction of a judge that the shareholders have failed to fill any vacancy and that an appointment is in the best interests of the incorporation.

To seek appointment of a committee of management member, we will ask you:

  1. to fill in an application for the appointment of committee of management member on our general application form
    Form 1 - General form of application [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include copies of the following documents:
    1. evidence that a vacancy exists on the committee of management
    2. evidence that an SGM or AGM of the Incorporation failed to fill that vacancy
    3. evidence that an appointment is in the best interests of the incorporation
    4. evidence to show general support for the proposed appointment
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $200

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Investigation into the conduct of an election of a committee of management member

Any shareholder of a Māori Incorporation may seek an investigation into the conduct of any election of a member to a committee of management.

You must demonstrate to the satisfaction of a judge that the conduct of the election was flawed and should be declared invalid.

To seek an investigation into the conduct of an election of a committee of management member, we will ask you:

  1. to fill in an application for investigation into the conduct of an election of a committee of management member on our general application form
    Form 1 - General form of application [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include copies of the following documents:
    1. evidence that the election process was flawed and should be declared invalid
    2. evidence to show general support that the process was flawed
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $200

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Investigation into the affairs of an Incorporation

The shareholders of an Incorporation may seek an investigation into the affairs of that incorporation but only if:

  • those shareholders together hold at least 10% of the overall shares in the Incorporation or
  • a special resolution was passed by a general meeting of shareholders that the affairs of the incorporation should be investigated.

The Court has very broad powers to investigate and may appoint 1 or more persons to be examining officers to undertake a full review of any part of the Incorporation.

A judge may also require any person to produce copies of any records held about the incorporation, give all reasonable assistance to the examining officers and provide reports and reasons as to decisions that have been made by the incorporation.

Once a judge receives the report from an examining officer, a hearing may be called at which further inquiry can be made – and – if required the judge may:

  • remove any member from a committee of management
  • appoint any other person to the committee of management
  • suspend any powers of the committee or management and appoint any person(s) to exercise that power
  • impose any restrictions, conditions or exceptions on the powers of the incorporation
  • give any directions as to the conduct of the business of the incorporation
  • suspend any or all provisions of the constitution of the incorporation
  • order the winding up (dissolution) of the incorporation
  • refer any matter to the Attorney-General to consider formal charges be brought and prosecution pursued against any person(s).

These powers will only be exercised in extreme cases where a judge is satisfied that there is a need to do so.

A request for an investigation should not be undertaken lightly, and we would advise you to seek independent legal advice.

To seek an investigation into the affairs of an incorporation, we will ask you:

  1. to fill in an application for investigation into the affairs of an incorporation on our general application form
    Form 1 - General form of application [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include copies of the following documents:
    1. evidence that those persons holding at least 10% of the shares in the incorporation seek an investigation or
    2. evidence that a special resolution was passed at a general meeting of the shareholders seeking an investigation
    3. the grounds upon which an investigation is sought
    4. any matters that should be brought to the immediate attention of a judge
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $200

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Power to require an officer of the incorporation to appear in court

As part of any investigation a judge can require any officer, committee of management member or employee of an incorporation to appear in court and provide any written or oral report about any aspect of the incorporation.

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