We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Maori Land Court?

By Marlene de Wilde
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Maori Land Court is a court in New Zealand that deals with the legalities of native Maori land. Originally established as the Native Land Court in 1865, the court hears cases on land successions, sales, administration and how the land can be better used and occupied by the Maori people. The court recognizes the special relationship that the native people have had with the land, so its decisions are based on property law as well as Maori tradition.

The Maori Land Court covers such areas as the rules applying to Maori incorporations and how they manage blocks of land that can by owned by hundreds. Succession is also difficult in cases like this, and these often come before the court. The setting up of Maori reservations, trustees’ duties and the transference of land shares are subjects that the court deals with, as is title improvement.

Presiding over court proceedings in the Maori Land Court are a Chief Judge and a Deputy Chief Judge, but there are also judges in districts throughout New Zealand. Decisions made by the court are reviewed by the Maori Appellate Court. A statute of the New Zealand Parliament outlining how Maori land should be governed is covered by the Maori Land Act, or Te Ture Whenua Maori Act, of 1993.

This legislation was the first in 40 years to affect Maori Land. In it, the role of the Maori Land Court was reinforced and its reach extended. A new provision was that where a dispute about Maori rights or customs arose, the Chief Judge was required to call in expert evidence or appoint at least two lay members.

The Native Land Court was established as a result of the Native Lands Acts in 1862 and 1865. The history of the court has been a checkered one. From its foundation in 1865, it has been the foremost symbol of English law for the Maori people. Many people consider it to have been mostly an oppressive instrument of the British legal system that deprived Maori of their land under the guise of protecting them from exploitation.

Maori land rights were first addressed by the British with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. About 500 Maori chiefs signed the treaty, which established a British governor in New Zealand and gave the Maori the same rights as the British. It has since become controversial because of the differences between the English and Maori interpretations of the document. Another difficulty is the difference in the way words such as "governance," "ownership" and "property" are understood by the two cultures.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.