Appointing trustees

Land owners nominate trustees and file an application with the Māori Land Court, who approve or decline the appointment. Every trust must have at least one responsible trustee to manage the trust on behalf of the owners. A responsible trustee can be:

Owners might also appoint other trustees to help the responsible trustee, such as custodian trustees, advisory trustees, or agents. Read about the different kinds of trustees.

If there is a trustee dispute, the Māori Land Court may step in and directly appoint a responsible trustee or agent to restore order.

Changing trustees

Land owners can choose to appoint new trustees, remove trustees or make changes to the trust order. The process goes like this:

  1. Proposed changes have to be discussed and agreed upon in a meeting of all owners
  2. Land owners must then apply to the Māori Land Court for the changes to be legally approved

If an owner believes a trustee is failing in their duty, they can ask the Māori Land Court to review the management of the trust. The trustee may be asked to appear for questioning, and may be removed from the trust.