The Minister of Māori Land Development has extended the deadline to make submissions on the draft Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill (“the Bill”) to 7 August 2015.  Here are 10 things that you as a Māori land owner must know about the proposed reforms.

The Bill in its current form: 

  1. Provides a complete overhaul of the existing Māori land legislation and will repeal and replace Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993.
  2. Establishes a new administrative agency called the Māori Land Service which will be responsible for maintaining the record of Māori land ownership and providing support, information and registry services to Māori land owners.
  3. Establishes a new Rangatōpū governance model to replace the existing Māori land Trust (ahuwhenua and whenua topu) and Incorporation models.
  4. Will require all affected Māori land Trusts and Incorporations to become a Rangatōpū within a three year transitional period.
  5. Will require all affected Māori land Trusts and Incorporations to comply with new statutory obligations. This includes new obligations relating to the management of their asset base and operations and in relation to keeping owners informed and engaged.
  6. Will likely result in substantial additional compliance and additional compliance costs for governing bodies (including existing Māori Land Trusts and Incorporations).
  7. Establishes a new process for the winding up of governance bodies.
  8. Introduces new criteria for major transactions with which governing bodies must comply.
  9. Substantially alters the law relating to succession.  If an owner dies without a will and there is more than one eligible descendant, a whānau trust must be created.
  10. Gives individual landowners new powers to convene meetings to consider a proposal(s). 

More information about the Bill submission process.