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Succeeding to whenua

Māori freehold land is owned by one or more owners. When an owner passes away, it’s important that their shares in Māori freehold land are succeeded to by the person or persons entitled.

All successions must be considered and approved by the Māori Land Court. This involves making an application to the Māori Land Court

Who can succeed to whenua Māori 

The rules for who can succeed to Māori freehold land are set out in Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.

These rules limit those people who can be left shares in Māori freehold land by will and guides the position as to who will succeed to the land if no will has been left.

See below for more information and resources about succession. 

Changes to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act

On 6 February 2021, some changes to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 affected how succession applications can be processed and dealt with by the Māori Land Court - find out more here.

Before you start

The succession process is a Court process. When you and your whānau feel ready to start the process, it would be worth contacting the Māori Land Court to check you have gathered all the information you need to file the application for succession with the Court. 

This will include:

  • The original death certificate of the person who passed, or a certified copy
  • The original will (or grant of administration), if there is one
  • Fully completed Māori Land Court application forms
  • Details of the whānau members of the deceased. This may include parents, brothers, sisters and tamariki.

There is also a fee for processing the application, which is paid to the Māori Land Court. 

It can take time to get all the information together before you apply to succeed.