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Where to start with succession

If a whānau member has passed away and you want to start the succession process, contacting the Māori Land Court is a good first step.

They can help you find out about the whenua and let you know what information you need before you apply to succeed. 

To get started, you can: 

  • Email, call or visit the Māori Land Court
  • Read about succession to Māori land on the Māori Land Court website
  • Search the Māori Land Court database to get owner and property information 

If the Māori Trustee has been appointed trustee to administer whenua you have shares in, you can check our records to find out more about the whenua and its owners. 

We may only look after some of the whenua you or your whānau have shares in, so it's best to also check the Māori Land Court website, as they hold information for all whenua Māori in Aotearoa. 

How the succession process works  

The process of succession can be complex and take time. Here is a brief overview of how the process works.  

  1. Search the Māori Land Court website for details of whenua ownership
  2. Gather all relevant information and documents about the person who has passed
  3. Fill out the Māori Land Court application forms
  4. File the application with a Māori Land Court office
  5. Attend a Māori Land Court hearing and answer any questions the Court has regarding your application
  6. Once the Māori Land Court decides who succeeds to the shares, a succession order is issued by the Court 

You can find out more about how we work with you as an owner here

What happens if the Māori Trustee is appointed to administer your trust?

If the Māori Trustee is appointed as responsible trustee for a trust you have shares in, we'll receive a copy of the succession order from the Māori Land Court.

Once we receive the order, we'll contact you to request your contact details and other information so we can set up your owners account within our records and provide you with all the information and pānui owners' receive.

We'll need to verify your details so we can:

  • Validate your account
  • Confirm your client number
  • Confirm what shareholding you have in any whenua we administer for you, and
  • Let you know if we're holding any funds for you and pay these to you. 

Information we'll need from you:

  • Full name
  • Other names you're known by
  • Contact details including:
    • postal address
    • email address
    • phone number
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • New Zealand IRD number
  • Current bank account details 
  • Signature 

Before we can provide you with owner information, we need to confirm your identity. We'll ask you to provide evidence, such as a passport or drivers licence as proof of your identity.

All of this information helps us to confirm we are dealing with the correct person. We have approximately 100,000 owners whose details we hold and need to ensure at all times that we know who we communicating with and what shareholding that person has in whenua we are administering.

This process also allows us to confidently pay funds we hold for owners to the correct person.

Making the process easy for your whānau in the future

Passing on whenua Māori ensures your tamariki, mokopuna and descendants remain connected to their whenua. You can make succession easier for them by having a kōrero about about the whenua that you have shares in. 

Having an up-to-date will can also help ensure they know what is to happen with the whenua when you pass. Talk to the Māori Land Court to find out more about:

  • Preparing for succession
  • Gifting whenua to your whanau while you are still alive
  • Setting up a whānau trust to maintain ownership for the benefit of the whole whānau.