Creating a trust or incorporation

When considering creating a trust (or a Māori Incorporation) over land or using Māori land interests, your need to consider four key matters:

Once you have considered and completed the actions (above) you can apply to create a trust or incorporation.

To create a trust, we will ask you:

  1. to fill in the appropriate application form:
    1. application to constitute a Whānau Trust (non succession) – form 36 [PDF, 98 KB]
    2. application to constitute an Ahu Whenua Trust – form 37 [PDF, 102 KB]
    3. for all other trusts and an incorporation - General form of application – form 1 [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include documentation which shows:
    1. proper notice was given
    2. a meeting was held and agreement reached
    3. the proposed terms of trust (you can find examples of a simple and complex terms of trust in our publications section)
    4. consent to create the trust or incorporation
    5. consent to be appointed as a trustee
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $60 for a trust application or $200 for an incorporation

Contact us for more assistance 

Notice

You need to ensure that you give people sufficient notice of your intention to create a trust or incorporation.

Notice will vary depending on the type of trust you are creating.

Whānau Trust, Kaitiaki Trust or Pūtea Trust

You should notify anyone who will be putting their shares into the trust, or, in the case of succession, you should call a whānau meeting to discuss the trust.

Because you are dealing with individual interests, it is not necessary to advertise in newspapers or other media to notify as many people as possible, but you do need to ensure that both the people putting shares in, any potential trustees and beneficiaries are aware of your hui.

Ahu Whenua Trust, Whenua Tōpū Trust, Māori Incorporation

The level of notice required, depends on the number of owners.

If you are able to contact each owner or their representatives directly, then it may not be necessary to advertise in newspapers or other media.

However, it may not be possible to contact all owners, so you must demonstrate that you have attempted to contact owners, or, given notice in public newspapers and media in the area where the land is located.

Notice should include:

  • your intention to call for the creation of a trust or incorporation
  • setting the terms of the trust or incorporation
  • election of the trustees
  • a date, time and venue for the meeting
  • your contact details.

For blocks with a large number of owners, you do not need to find every owner in a block, but you do need to ensure you have tried to notify them through public advertising, generally twice.

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Meeting and agreement

You need to show that a meeting has taken place and that agreement has been reached about the creation of the trust or incorporation.

Again, the meeting and agreement will vary depending on the type of trust you are creating.

Whānau Trust, Kaitiaki Trust or Pūtea Trust

We only require that you supply minutes from your meeting which, at the very least, should have:

  • a detailed list of attendees with contact information
  • summary of any discussion about the trust, shares to be included (or not), any terms of trust and trustees.

Resolutions Ahu Whenua Trust, Whenua Tōpū Trust, Māori Incorporation

We need more detailed minutes from the meeting – which should include:

  • a list of owners, their contact details, and number of shares they hold
  • a list of any other attendees and their contact details
  • a list of any apologies, their contact details, and number of shares they hold (if any)
  • summary of the discussion to create the trust or incorporation, setting the terms of trust and potential trustees
  • summary of any disagreement between the owners (if any)
  • resolutions.

It is important to provide us with information about the proportion of shares held by the people at the meeting.

The number of owners and the shareholding they represent gives an important indicator of the support both from individuals and shares for the proposal.

For a trust, you need to demonstrate general support for the proposal.

However, for an Incorporation, you must demonstrate that you have the support of at least 15% of the shares of the block.

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Terms of trust / trust order

When creating a trust, you and the other owners or beneficiaries, set out any powers and responsibilities trustees will have when managing your land or the interests in your land.

The terms of trust (also referred to as a trust order) can include (but are not limited to):

  • limits on the trustees ability to lease or mortgage the land
  • authorise specific activities – such as development of the land
  • allow certain concessions to be granted – such as the power to lower any rent payable if the land is leased by a beneficiary
  • the period of time between Annual General Meetings – maybe every 5 years
  • the minimum and maximum number of trustees and the method for their replacement
  • the quorum requirements for any meeting of the trust.

The powers and responsibilities of trustees will vary depending on the size and location of the block and activity of your trust.

You can find examples of a simple and complex terms of trust in our publications section.

Whānau Trust, Kaitiaki Trust or Pūtea Trust

We expect a trust order for these types of trust will at least provide:

  • the name of the trust
  • the nominated tipuna (for whānau trusts)
  • the beneficiaries of the trust
  • the purposes for which funds can be used (for pūtea trusts).

You can find examples of a simple and complex terms of trust in our publications section

You are free to add more powers and responsibilities to our draft to best fit the terms agreed by you and the other owners or beneficiaries.

Ahu Whenua Trust, Whenua Tōpū Trust

We expect a trust order for these types of trust will at least provide:

  • The name of the trust
  • The lands which are subject to the trust
  • What specific powers (if any) the trustees have or do not have
  • Reporting requirements for the trustees
  • How trustees will hold annual or special general meetings
  • Minimum and maximum number of trustees and the method for their replacement
  • Quorum requirements for meetings

You can find examples of a simple and complex terms of trust in our publications section

You are free to add more powers and responsibilities to our draft to best fit the terms agreed by you and the other owners or beneficiaries.

Māori Incorporation – Constitution

Unlike trusts, as a company structure, a Māori Incorporation has a constitution.

All current Māori Incorporations have as their constitution the rules set out in the Māori Incorporations Constitutions Regulations 1994.

These regulations provide the minimum standard for all incorporations. You are able to amend parts of these regulations as they apply to your incorporation, but that would need to be by way of a special resolution at a meeting of shareholders which is then confirmed by the Court.

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Consents

An important part of creating a trust or incorporation is being able to supply consents. We would be looking for consents from:

  • Owners to place their shares into a whānau or pūtea trust
  • Owners to the creation of an Ahu Whenua, Whenua Tōpū or Māori Incorporation
  • Properly nominated trustees for the new trust(s) or members for the committee of management of the incorporation

In addition, for kaitiaki trusts, we would need evidence to support why such a trust is required and for whom.

Download a trustee consent form 

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