Trustees for Māori land are appointed through the Māori Land Court.
The most common way to select trustees is for the owners to nominate trustees. The nominated trustees are then formally appointed through the Māori Land Court.
In the case of responsible trustees and custodian trustees, individuals or organisations can be appointed such as the Māori Trustee who heads Te Tumu Paeroa, a Māori trust board or incorporation, the Public Trust or a trustee company like those run by accountants and lawyers.
Advisory trustees are always individuals and are often beneficial owners in the trust, or people who have particular expertise to contribute to the trust.
Māori Land Court
Following a hearing about land or a trust, for instance where there is a dispute about the actions of trustees, or about management of the land, the Māori Land Court may directly appoint a responsible trustee or agent to manage the affairs of the trust. The Māori Land Court appoints what is in their view, the most appropriate trustee, and this is very often the Māori Trustee, who heads Te Tumu Paeroa.
Owners can elect new trustees, remove trustees, and change the number of trustees for the trust. They can also make changes to the trust order and other aspects of the trust. To do so, they must hold a meeting of owners, agree the changes, and apply to the Māori Land Court to make those changes legally effective.
If any of the owners believes a trustee is failing in their duty, they can ask the Māori Land Court to review the administration of the trust. The Court can require the trustee to appear for questioning, and can remove the trustee.