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

Your trust's responsibilities

Creating and maintaining a register of owners

Trustees must create and maintain a register of owners — you can't meet your obligations as a trustee without one. Find out how.

What is a register of owners? 

A register of owners is the trust's record of the owners (the trust's 'beneficiaries') and their shareholdings.

It needs to be kept up to date so trustees can engage and consult with owners on decisions about the whenua and the trust. 

What to include in the register

The register should include as much information about owners as possible, including:

  • name
  • address
  • email address
  • phone number
  • date of birth (and of death, if relevant)
  • IRD number
  • bank account
  • number of shares held
  • any relevant supporting documents, for example a copy of court order proving ownership, authority to pay documents, or proxy forms.

How to use the register

You can use the register to meet your obligations as a trustee, including:

  • contacting landowners — to send invitations to hui and reports. Keeping these up to date means you don't waste money sending things to the wrong address
  • paying the right people
  • working out where is best to hold hui — for example, to make sure you meet quorum you might need to hold a hui somewhere close to where the majority of owners live, or if it's important for them to see the whenua, hold a hui on it
  • to influence strategy and vision — knowing who your landowners are, what their needs are, and who or what influences them, will help you work out what to do with the trust.

Keeping the register updated

The register of owners should be a living thing — it will need to be updated regularly as whānau move or die.

The register will be easiest to maintain if it's an electronic document, like a spreadsheet. However you record and save the information, ensure it meets New Zealand's privacy principles, as you are responsible for keeping people's private information safe.

Who can help

If you need help collecting information about the landowners, you could check with:

  • whānau and owners you do have contact details for — they might know how to contact others
  • The Māori Land Court — although they don't maintain contact information, you will be able to check who is recorded as an owner for a block of land
  • the electoral roll
  • other trusts and incorporations in your rohe.

Privacy issues

When you collect personal information from people in Aotearoa, you need to make sure you meet the privacy principles. 

Read the Privacy Commissioner's summary of the 12 privacy principles