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Māori business: Legal frameworks

Many Māori businesses based on collectively owned assets are constituted and governed through legislation (laws) that apply specifically to Māori land and assets. The Māori Reserved Lands Act (1997), Te Ture Whenua Māori Act (1993), and the Māori Fisheries Act (2004) are important laws relating to collectively owned Māori land and marine resources. These acts determine the conditions and rules under which trusts and incorporations subject to their provisions must act.

Treaty settlements

Treaty settlements are often finalised through an Act of Parliament, which enshrines in law the terms of the settlement, including provisions relating to governance, asset acquisition, and management of assets.

The terms of Treaty Settlement Acts can be complex and pertain specifically to the group (usually an iwi or collective of iwi) to whom the settlement applies. For a settlement to be finalised, the iwi (or collective of iwi) must establish a legal entity (often a trust), which is approved by Crown representatives and accepted by iwi members. A vote of registered members of the iwi confirms the acceptance.

Government agencies

In addition to the laws that govern Māori businesses based on collectively owned Māori assets, there are a number of Government agencies that deal specifically with Māori assets and businesses. These include the Māori Land Court, Te Ohu Kaimoana/Māori Fisheries Commission, the Office of the Māori Trustee (headed by the Government appointed Māori Trustee), and the Office of Treaty Settlements (a division of the Ministry of Justice).

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Last updated October 3, 2022