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Building a house on Maaori Land

Why do I need a building consent and how do I get one?

Section 44 of the Building Act 2004 requires owners of land to apply for a building consent before undertaking any building work on it. Council requires applicants to prove that they have the right to build on this land before processing any building consent application for it.

Under the same Act, Council is able to ask for any information reasonably required to process an application. In the case of general land, the right to build on land is usually established by the owner simply providing a copy of the certificate of title. With multiple owned Maaori freehold land however, being an owner is not enough to prove you have a right to build on the land.

What is an occupation order?

An Occupation Order is issued by the Māori Land Court and grants an owner the right to occupy a house site on Māori freehold land. When deciding whether to grant an Occupation Order, the Court must consider the following:

  • The owner's opinions
  • The effect the Occupation Order will have on the owners' interests and;
  • The best overall use and development of the and (see Part 15 of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 for more information).

What is a licence to occupy?

A Licence to Occupy essentially has the same effect as an Occupation Order, it grants an owner the right to occupy the land. The difference is that a Licence to Occupy is issued by the Trustees of a Trust, and the authority to issue a Licence to Occupy must be provided for in the Deed of Trust.

Council requires that your Licence to Occupy include a site plan (see below).

What is a Deed of Trust (or Trust Deed)?

A Deed of Trust (or Trust Deed) sets out the rules that govern a Trust including the power to issue Licences to Occupy. A Deed of Trust is approved by the Māori Land Court upon the establishment of a Trust.

For further information on the above, contact your local Māori Land Court offices:

Waikato-Maniapoto District - Phone: (07) 957 7880