NZLII [Home] [Databases] [WorldLII] [Search] [Feedback]

New Zealand Law Commission

You are here:  NZLII >> Databases >> New Zealand Law Commission >> >> SP13 >> Preface

[Database Search] [Name Search] [Download] [Help]


The project

IN MÄORI CUSTOM AND VALUES IN NEW ZEALAND LAW the Law Commission identified as an issue of high importance:

... the need to devise structures to ensure the success of settlements entered into by the Crown with Mäori for historic grievances arising out of breaches of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. Of particular importance is the need to facilitate the efficient administration of the new class of kin-owned assets.
After a settlement has been negotiated, those with a mandate to govern the administration and allocation of the settlement assets must decide how the assets are to be administered and allocated to enable the betterment, economically and socially, of the group on whose behalf they have been negotiated.[1]

The Chief Judge of the Mäori Land Court has identified as no less important the need for a suitable dispute resolution mechanism because, in his opinion:

... [t]he next ten years will see inevitably an increase in kin-group discussion and disputation over issues such as:

• governance capacity;

• succession and/or membership of the beneficiary kin group;

• leadership accountability to the kin group;

• beneficiary participation in policy formulation for the kin group; and

• benefit distribution and utilisation.[2]

This study paper speaks to these two major issues.

Terms of reference

One of the principal functions of the Law Commission is “to make recommendations for the reform and development of the law of New Zealand”.[3] In making recommendations, the Commission is specifically required to take into account te ao Mäori (the Mäori dimension).[4]

The Commission has been asked by the Minister Responsible for the Law Commission to provide an advisory report for the benefit of Te Puni Kökiri, the Office of Treaty Settlements and the Chief Judge of the Mäori Land Court on the basis of the following terms of reference:

To enquire into and report on the following issues:

1 Is there a need for changes, whether administrative or legislative, to address problems which have arisen in the period leading up to and in the course of implementation of settlements for breaches of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi? In particular, is there a need for a generic post-settlement entity to be developed?

2 If specific problems are identified which require administrative or legal changes, what changes are recommended?

3 If legislation is recommended, what should be the form of the legislative framework?

The Commission’s Memorandum of Understanding with its Minister requires a report on these issues by 30 June 2002.

The issues raised by this study paper are of great importance to Mäori, but within the time available it has not been possible for the Commission to consult widely with Mäori. This study paper can only be the first, and not the last, word on the subject.[5]


In preparing this paper the Commission has had the advantage of discussions with officials from Te Puni Kökiri (TPK) and the Office of Treaty Settlements (OTS), a representative of Te Ohu Kai Moana (TOKM),[6] and the Chief Judge of the Mäori Land Court. (These discussions should not be elevated to the status of formal consultation.)

The Commission is grateful to the people and organisations with whom there have been discussions, including:

• Members of Te Mätähauariki Research Institute under the guidance of Adjunct Professor Judge Michael JA Brown CNZM; in particular, Dr Alex Frame, Paul Meredith and Robert Joseph;

• Chief Judge Joseph Williams and staff in the Chief Judge’s Chambers at the Mäori Land Court;

• Ben Paki and members of the Law Reform Branch of TPK;

• Tony Sole of TOKM.

The Commission is grateful for the support and guidance of the members of the Mäori Committee to the Commission:

• Sir Graham Latimer KBE;

• The Honourable Justice Durie;

• Judge Michael JA Brown CNZM;

• Professor Mason Durie CNZM;

• Jacqui Te Kani CNZM;

• Shane Jones;

• Te Atawhai Taiaroa; and

• Chief Judge Joseph Williams.

The Commissioners responsible for the study paper are Professor Ngatata Love QSO JP and the Hon Justice Paul Heath. The research, and some of the writing, was undertaken by Simon Karipa, to whom the Commission expresses its appreciation. The Commission is grateful to TPK for seconding Simon Karipa to the Commission to undertake this project.

NZLII: Copyright Policy | Disclaimers | Privacy Policy | Feedback