Māori Land

Intestate Succession of a Māori Land and its Process

The Law

Whenever a Māori passes away without a will, there is a priority rank for succession to the interests of the land. Rainey Collins Lawyers says that your Māori land lawyer will inform you that the kids of the owner (or their grand kids if the kids already died) have the primary entitlement to equal shares. If the owner does not have any kids, then their siblings or their siblings’ kids (if their siblings died) will have the right.

Moreover, if the owner does not have any kids or siblings, then the closest relatives from the whānau’s side will be entitled. If no one belongs to any of the said categories, then the Court will decide who will acquire the land interests according to Tikanga Māori.

When they finally figure out the right inheritor, the succession process starts by filing an application to the Māori Land Court. Their application must contain the details below:

  • Whakapapa of the deceased
  • Birth certificates, names, and contact information of their kids (including any whāngai)
  • Contact information and names of their surviving partner or spouse
  • Record of the Māori land the deceased owned that the whanau know about. As soon as they have filed the application, the Māori Land Court will conduct further research. This will guarantee that they include all the land owned in the succession orders.
  • Copy of the probate files (if necessary) and the Will
  • Death certificate

You can download the succession application form template on the website of Māori Land Court or get it at any of their offices. As soon as the Court receives all needed details, they will set down the matter for hearing. During the hearing, the Judge will listen to the applicant and other concerned individuals. They will then determine the rightful inheritor of the Māori Land interests.

Landowners should speak to their whanau and inform them about what they want to happen with their land when they die. This ensures that there are no surprises when the time comes.