Succession hearings at the Māori Land Court
On the day of your hearing
The Māori Land Court is a court of record. Their role is to ensure that the correct details of Māori land owners are recorded against the whenua they own. Part of that includes hearing whānau applications to succeed to Māori land.
On the day of your hearing, try to be at the venue at least 15 minutes before your hearing is due to start. It'll give you time to:
- meet up with your case manager and any whānau who are joining you for the hearing
- sign the attendance register, and
- ask any questions you have about what will happen in the hearing.
What happens at the hearing
Most straightforward succession hearings only take about 5-10 minutes. During the hearing, the Judge will ask you to:
- state your name and address, and
- confirm that your submission to the Court is true and accurate.
The Judge will already have reviewed your draft submission, so they'll ask you any questions they might have about it. For example, if whānau have said that whāngai children should succeed to the whenua too, they may ask you to confirm that.
Then, if anyone at the hearing wants to oppose your succession, the Judge will give them a chance to say so and explain why. If that happens, you'll get an opportunity to respond.
The Judge’s role is to ensure your succession meets the rules set out in Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993. For example, they will discuss things with you like who should receive a life interest in the whenua, who should succeed, and who may not be eligible to an interest at all.
They will end the hearing by recognising your succession, and directing the Court to add it to the official record.