Key Issues

Before answering the questions below, you should be familiar with the following:

  • The categories of land subject to the Act.
  • The circumstances in which the status of land may change.
  • The definition of “preferred class of alienees”.
  • The restrictions on alienation of Māori land.
  • The impact of valuation.

Keep in Mind

  • The distinctions between the categories of land. Accurately categorising land is vital in order to understand issues of alienation and valuation.
  • The requirements for alienation of Māori land and the consequences of not satisfying these.


Question 1

Huia and her siblings Ariana and Wiremu are the registered proprietors of a block of Māori freehold land. At present, the land is an empty section, previously used for farming crops. The siblings wish to develop the land, by building a large house to be run as a guest house. In order to best achieve this, they wish to change the status of the Māori freehold land to General land. They need to obtain finance for this project, and feel that this, and the consent for operating a guest house, will be easier to achieve if the land is General land. They have no plans to sell the land in the future. None of the preferred class of alienees objects to the change in status.

Huia, Ariana and Wiremu apply to the Māori Land Court to change the status of the land. Advise Huia and her siblings whether the application is likely to succeed.

[Time Limit: 45 minutes]

Answer Plan

You will need to consider the following in your answer:

  • The factors listed in s 136 relevant to a decision to change the status of land.
  • The primary objective of the Act as found in ss 2 and 17.
  • Conclusion.


Question 2

Renee and Marc have recently moved to New Zealand from France. They want to purchase property and are very interested in a block of land owned by Claire and Dan, due to the incredible views, from where they would build a house. When they talk to people about the property, they are informed that it is Māori freehold land, and are warned of potential issues arising from its classification.

Explain to Renee and Marc what Māori freehold land means, and how this might affect their purchase.

[Time Limit: 30 minutes]

Answer Plan

You will need to consider the following in your answer:

  • An explanation of Māori freehold land.
  • Restrictions on alienation of Māori land.
  • Options for Renee and Marc.


For the full sample answers and more see Wilson Questions and Answers: Property Law (2nd ed, LexisNexis, Wellington, 2014).

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