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Taonga Māori

Succession: Transfer of ownership when an owner dies

Applying to the court for a succession order

Court registrars can deal with simple succession matters

Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993, s 113A

The Māori Land Court Registrar can take care of simple succession matters, without the need to go to court.

Registrars can decide succession matters that are “simple and uncontested,” meaning that they aren’t complicated, and no one has objected to what’s proposed. Some “simple and uncontested” situations include:

  • when all the people are of the same class of alienees, and will succeed to equal shares
  • when this isn’t the first succession, and the court dealt with a previous one.

To go through this quicker process, you apply in the usual way, and should include plenty of detail to show that your situation is simple and uncontested, and notify anyone else who is affected, or named in the application.

How do I apply to be a successor?

You’ll need to complete an application for a Succession Order and lodge it with the Māori Land Court. For information about the application process see: “Applying to the Māori Land Court for an order”.

You’ll need to include the following with your application:

  • a death certificate (either an original or a certified copy)
  • a certified copy of either:
    ‒ the will and the court’s grant of probate (its acceptance of the will as valid), or
    ‒ the court’s grant of administration (which applies if there’s no will)
  • the application fee
  • whakapapa details for the deceased person – this includes parents and brothers and sisters (including whāngai and those who have passed away).

Note: There are many different application forms for succession, so it’s best to talk to the court staff to find out which one best suits your situation.

Locating the land interests

Māori Land Court Rules 10.1

To get details of who has an interest in the land, you can apply to the Registrar for a “search of beneficial interest” of the deceased, or use Pātaka Whenua on māorilandcourt.govt.nz/en/the-court-record/our-record/ 

Court staff will always carry out a full search when they receive your application.

Who should sign the succession application?

The applicant or their lawyer if they have one. There’s no need for the application to be signed by all the people who are entitled to be successors. By providing whakapapa details in your application (see above), this ensures that all entitled people are included.

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Māori land

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online:

Māori Land Court

See the Māori Land Court website for application forms and information about Māori Land and the court’s role and processes.

Website: www.maorilandcourt.govt.nz
Download application forms online: www.maorilandcourt.govt.nz/our-application-process/come-in-apply-to-the-court/application-forms
Download information booklets online: www.maorilandcourt.govt.nz/about-mlc/publications
View the National Pānui online or subscribe online: www.maorilandcourt.govt.nz/national-panui

Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre

The Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre assists all Ngāi Tahu and all Māori living within the Ngāi Tahu rohe on Māori land law issues.

Website: www.ngaitahulaw.org.nz
Email: info@ngaitahulaw.org.nz
Phone: 0800 626 745

Pātaka Whenua

Pātaka Whenua is the new online customer portal that replaced Māori Land Online. This customer portal gives you the ability to submit an enquiry, access Māori land information and file a Court application.

Website:  www.customer.service.maorilandcourt.govt.nz
View the user guides on Pātaka Whenua online: www.māorilandcourt.govt.nz/contact-us/pātaka-whenua-our-new-online-portal

In the future you will be able to search for documents including Minutes and Orders. Until this is available online, you can access this information by emailing mlctewaharoa@justice.govt.nz or visiting your local Māori Land Court office.

Te Tumu Paeroa: Office of the Māori Trustee

Te Tumu Paeroa provide professional trustee services where the Māori Trustee has been appointed a role on a Māori Land Trust.

Website: www.tetumupaeroa.co.nz
Email: contact@tetumupaeroa.co.nz
Phone: 0800 943 682

Inland Revenue Department, Kaitakawaenga Māori service

Kaitakawaenga Māori provides support to any Māori individual or business wanting tax information, advice or training.

Website: www.ird.govt.nz/contactus/kaitakawaenga-maori

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