An elderly Kuia told her whangai daughter that she wanted her to have some of her Māori land interests when she died, and that she had made provision for this in her Will.

The elderly Kuia died, leaving a Will, which made mention of her various Maori land interests going to her natural child, and also to her whangai daughter by name.

Unfortunately the Will made no mention of the whangai relationship which existed between the deceased and her whangai daughter.

The natural child of the Kuia, who had been living overseas, disputed that a whangai relationship existed, and was not happy with the provision of Māori land made to the whangai daughter under the Will.

The natural child commenced proceedings in the Maori Land Court for an order that the part of the Will purporting to leave land to the ‘whangai’ daughter was void and of no effect.

In order to uphold the provisions made to her under the Will the whangai daughter was required, at great monetary and emotional expense, to provide evidence of her whangai relationship with the Kuia before the Māori Land Court.

This situation could have been avoided if the Kuia had made it clear in her Will that her whangai daughter was indeed a whangai.

If you have a specific wish regarding any of your property after your death, make sure that you not only put it in your Will but ensure that it takes in to account the specific succession laws applying to Māori land.  It may avert disputes between family and whangai that could occur over your estate.

If you do not have a Will, the results can be even worse!  In that situation, who gets your Māori land is decided by provisions set out in Te Ture Whenua Maori Act.

Not having a valid Will, or having a Will that does not accurately reflect your intentions, can produce unintended, emotionally painful, and expensive results for your family and loved ones.

If you don’t have a Will, now is the time to make one.  If you have a Will, it is a good idea to review it to make sure that it still reflects your intentions.  If you would like to discuss making a Will, or updating your existing Will, please contact us on 0800 733 001.