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Building on and occupying Māori land

Building on Māori land: Local council requirements

If you’re planning to build on Māori land there are a number of local council requirements you may have to meet:

  • resource consent
  • building consent
  • the right to build on the land, and
  • development contributions.

Your building may need resource consent, depending on the type of development and the land zoning. You should contact your local council’s duty planner at the start of your project to find out whether you need resource consent.

You’ll need building consent for your building. If you also need resource consent you may want to apply for your building consent at the same time so the applications can be processed together.

Right to build on the land

You’ll need to show the council that you have the right to build on the land, by providing them with evidence that you have either a licence to occupy, an occupation order or a hapū partition (see “Occupation orders” above and “Partitions (subdivisions) and other title improvements to Māori land” below in this chapter).

Development contributions

If you receive approval to build you may be required to pay “development contributions” by your local council when your building consent is issued. These are fees the council charges to pay for the additional public infrastructure (such as water supply, stormwater drains and roads) that’s made necessary by new development projects such as building new houses or apartments or subdividing land.

For more information, contact your local council.

Note: The process for developing housing on multiple-owned Māori land can be complex, and some district councils provide a specific process for developing a papakāinga (building on ancestral land). For more information, contact your nearest Māori Land Court office or district council.

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Māori land

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Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and can help you apply to the Māori Land Court.

Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre


The Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre assists all Ngāi Tahu and all Māori living within the Ngāi Tahu rohe. They practise in Māori land law and in advocacy focused on kaupapa Māori.

Māori Land Court


Find information about the Māori Land Court online.



Download application forms online.

Information booklets


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National Pānui


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Māori Land Online


Search for Māori land interests online.

Te Tumu Paeroa: Office of the Māori Trustee


Search online for funds owing to beneficial owners.

Inland Revenue Department, Kaitakawaenga Māori service


This service offers one-on-one tax advice; tax training or seminars; tax agencies at resource centres or marae; and school visits. This service will attend hui or come to you and provide other advice about your tax obligations.

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