Disputes regarding whenua Māori or between trustees of a Māori land trust can be complicated to navigate and stressful for all parties involved.

While an application to the Māori Land Court might seem like an easy solution, these processes can often be costly and may cause further strain on the relationships between whānau or hapū members.  Court proceedings may be time consuming and may not always be in the best interests of the parties involved or the management of land.

The Māori Land Court offers its dispute resolution service as an alternative option to the Court process. This service is designed to give parties the opportunity to kōrero about their issues with the support of a neutral mediator.

The Māori Land Court will facilitate a mediation hui, with the aim of implementing a workable solution for all parties. The mediator will provide an impartial view on the issues, and help guide you toward a resolution.

Benefits of the dispute resolution service include:

  • Free: Māori land court applications can become costly. The dispute resolution service is free of charge and designed to be accessible without any extra legal costs.
  • Tikanga-based: the parties will have the opportunity to decide the tikanga that will be followed at the hui and any practices you would like to take place, such as pōwhiri, karakia, koha, kai or waitata.
  • Outside of Court setting: the Court setting can be intimidating, and this may be a barrier to having open and honest conversations with everyone involved. The dispute resolution service aims to address this by hosting a less formal hui in a venue agreed by you.
  • Repairing relationships: Having an opportunity to discuss the issue in an open, tikanga-based environment can often help protect and mend relationships. 
  • Confidentiality: Conversations held with the dispute resolution service will not be publicly available on the Māori Land Court record.

As this is a voluntary service, all parties involved need to agree to using the dispute resolution service to make an application. Applications for the dispute resolution service can be made through the Māori Land Court website here.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.