The Government is progressing its reform of the legislative framework governing Māori land. Today the Associate Minister for Māori Affairs, Hon Christopher Finlayson QC, released the final report of an expert review panel tasked with reviewing the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.

The report (available here) outlines the panel’s recommendations for reforming the Act, including:

  • Allowing engaged owners to make governance and utilisation decisions without needing approval by the Māori Land Court

  • Continued safeguards to support the retention of Māori land

  • Provisions allowing for external managers to administer under-utilised blocks pending owner engagement

  • A clearer framework for Māori land governance entities such as trusts and incorporations

  • Greater emphasis on mediation

  • The Māori Land Court remaining an accessible forum for Māori land issues but with fewer matters needing Court involvement

  • Options for dealing with fragmentation.