Once the Māori Land Court has established a Māori land trust, such as a whānau or ahu whenua trust, there are ongoing obligations for trustees.

The powers, rights and duties of the trustees will be set out in the trust order, and the trustees must also comply with Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 and the Trustee Act 1956.

The trustees’ key duty is to maximise the assets and minimise the liabilities of the trust to the best of their ability. See our article on trustees’ duties for more information about compliance with trustees’ duties.

Trustees should hold regular meetings to discuss the trust’s activities. The frequency of meetings will depend on the business needs of the trust. For example, the trustees will likely meet more often when the trust is being set up, or when an important business decision is being made.

When trustees meet, a certain number of trustees must be present to make a decision (a quorum). To achieve a quorum, at least three trustees must be present (unless the trust order sets out a different quorum requirement). Each attending trustee can then vote on decisions about the land.

If you are struggling to reach agreement and make decisions about Māori land, Māori land trusts are a good option, as a relatively small number of trustees can achieve a quorum and make a decision.

Get in touch if you want to discuss your obligations for your Māori land trust, or want advice on how to set one up.

 

 

Rebecca Scoular-Sutton

Maori Issues Lawyer
Wellington