The Māori Land Court has found that a whānau trust could partition its shares out of a block of Māori land being administered by an ahu whenua trust.

The whānau trust was concerned that the trustees of the ahu whenua trust were mismanaging the whenua, not holding regular meetings, not supplying information they were entitled to, and failing to call meetings to discuss proposals to better utilise the land. The whanau trust believed it could better manage and secure their own future by managing the land themselves.

The Māori Land Court held that the whānau trust had established the requirements to partition including having taken into account the opinions of the owners, effect of the proposal on other owners, as well as the best overall use of the land.

The Court considered that a partition in favour of the whānau trust would enable the land to be developed for potential honey and ecotourism ventures.

Trustees of ahu whenua trusts are required to manage and utilise whenua on behalf of the beneficial owners.

If you think an ahu whenua trust has failed to properly manage your whenua, it pays to consult a professional experienced in the area.

Peter Johnston
Māori Issues Lawyer