Māori Land Court

Māori Land Court
New Zealand

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The Māori Land Court (Māori: Te Kooti Whenua Māori) is the specialist court in New Zealand that hears matters relating to Māori land.

The Māori Land Court was established in 1865 as the Native Land Court. In 1954, the name was changed to the Māori Land Court. Originally the court was established to translate customary Māori land claims into legal land titles recognisable under English law. In 1993, the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act[1] expanded the court's jurisdiction to allow it to hear cases on all matters related to Māori land.

Appeals from the Māori Land Court are heard by the Māori Appellate Court, which consists of a panel of three judges of the Māori Land Court. The Māori Land Court or the Māori Appellate Court may request an opinion on a matter of law from the High Court of New Zealand; such decisions are binding on the Māori Land Court. Appeals from the Māori Appellate Court, if permitted, lie with the Court of Appeal, and from there to the Supreme Court.

The court has no centralised courthouse but has a head office in Wellington and sits in various cities and towns in New Zealand as needed. The court maintains registries in Whangarei, Hamilton, Rotorua, Whanganui, Hastings, Gisborne, and Christchurch. It also has information offices in Auckland and Turangi.


  • Tom Bennion (1997). The Maori Land Court and Land Boards, 1909 to 1952 (Wellington: Waitangi Tribunal)
  • Richard Boast (1999). Maori Land Law (Wellington: Butterworths)
  • Joe Williams (2001). Maori Land Court: A Separate Legal System? (Wellington: NZ Centre for Public Law)
  1. ^ http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1993/0004/latest/DLM289882.html

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