Building on Māori land

In the case of Māori freehold land, there may be multiple registered owners based on Māori Land Court records, and being an owner does not always mean that the applicant has a right to build. Before a building consent may be processed, Council requires proof that an applicant has a right to build on the land. 

To make sure that Council issues building consents only to those who have a right to build, one of the following is required when applying for a building consent on Māori freehold land:

  •  Written authorisation (e.g. minutes of meeting, consent form with all signatories) from the Trustees of the land or Incorporation’s Management Committee
  • Written authorisation of all/the majority of registered/legal owners
  • A licence to occupy issued by the Trustees of the land or Incorporation’s Management Committee that encompasses the building proposal
  • An occupation order issued by the Māori Land Court that encompasses the building proposal.

Staff follow a clear step-by-step process when processing building consents for Māori freehold land.  This process is continuously monitored and reviewed to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks so that we can continue to enable development on Māori freehold land.

Your questions answered:

The land I would like to build on does not have a Trust or Management Committee, and so I need to get the written permission of all or the majority of registered/legal owners. What if some of these owners are unable to provide written permission (e.g., are deceased)?

If some of the registered/legal owners are unable to provide written permission, proof must be provided of this.  For example, in the case of deceased owners, death certificates must be provided.

What is a licence to occupy?

A licence to occupy may grant an individual permission to occupy a house site on Māori freehold land.  Agreement is sought directly with the registered owners, the Trustees, or the Incorporation’s Management Committee, and the licence to occupy is registered with the Māori Land Court.

Information about obtaining a licence to occupy can be found through the following link:
Māori Land Court - Licences

What is an occupation order?

An occupation order grants people the right to occupy a house site on Māori freehold land and is granted by the Māori Land Court.

Information about applying for an occupation order can be found through the following link:
License to build or occupy on Maori freehold land

What if I can’t supply the required information above at the time of my application?

If the information above can’t be supplied at the time of application, the application will be deemed to be incomplete and returned clearly advising the nature of the incomplete or incorrect information and that the application will be required to be resubmitted.

Where can I access Council’s building consent application and other general information?

Please visit building consents and information for further information on building consent applications.

What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?

If you have a question not listed here, please get in touch with us at 0800 920 029 or at ask.us@fndc.govt.nz with any queries, and our staff would be happy to help.