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Mā te whenua e whanake ai te whānau
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Language: English | Māori
Language: English | Māori

Setting up a trust or governance structure

What to include in your trust order

Find out what to include when you’re defining the terms of your trust order — the document that sets out the rules that govern your trust.

The trust order defines the powers, responsibilities, or restrictions the trustees will have when managing your trust. It helps to ensure that the trust can deliver the outcomes the owners want.

You should draft your trust order over time during discussions with other owners, when you also talk about your kaupapa or core purpose, tikanga and vision for the whenua. Then at a meeting of owners, you can call for a resolution of general agreement on the draft of the order.

You will need to submit the draft of the trust order to the Māori Land Court (MLC) when you apply to create the trust.

Once the trust order has been approved by MLC, if you want to make changes to the order you need to apply to MLC.

What to include in a trust order

Your trust order must include at least:

  • the name of the trust
  • the name of the whenua block (or blocks) vested in the trust
  • who the proposed trustees are
  • the quorum requirements for owners meetings.

It could also include things like:

  • the number of trustees, how they are appointed or elected and how long they can hold ‘office’ for
  • any limits on what the board can and cannot do, like whether the whenua can be leased
  • procedures for reporting to owners – for example how often AGMs will be held
  • the accounting and financial requirements the trustees must meet.

Example of a simple Ahu Whenua/Whenua Tōpu trust order [DOC 63KB] 

Example of a comprehensive Ahu Whenua/Whenua Tōpu trust order [DOC 208KB]

Information to include in a trust order