In a recent decision the Māori Land Court declined to grant an urgent injunction which would have prevented a person from giving effect to an occupation licence he had been granted.

In order to occupy Māori land, or General land owned by Māori, you need to obtain either:

  • A lease or occupation licence granted by the owners, trustees, or the committee of management; or
  • An occupation order granted by the Māori Land Court.

A licence to occupy is a contract granted by land owners which gives permission to build on, or occupy, the land.

In this case the land was owned and administered by a Trust. The Trust had granted the person a Licence to Occupy an area on the land. The licence provided an exclusive right to use and occupy the land, and a right of renewal.

The Applicants for the urgent injunction, who were shareholders and beneficiaries in the land, sought to prevent the holder of the licence from giving effect to the Licence to Occupy, and to restrain him from building on the land. They argued that the land was of particular significance to the whānau and that they would like to use the land themselves.

The Court noted that the licence holder had appropriately sought the consent of the Trust to build on and occupy the land.

Further, the Trust as the owner of the land had the power to grant a Licence to Occupy, and as a result there was no actual or threatened trespass by the licence holder. Therefore, the Court concluded that the injunction application could not succeed.

The Court further noted that the overall justice of the case meant that the injunction application should be dismissed.

If you are concerned about a dispute involving Māori land, it is helpful to speak to a professional experienced in this area to get the best outcome for you and your whānau.

For more information on applying for an occupation order on Māori land click here.