On 28 November 2022, the Māori Purposes Bill received Royal Assent, meaning that the changes the Bill proposed are now made into law through the Māori Purposes Act 2022.
Published: Monday, 5 December 2022 | Rāhina, 05 Hakihea, 2022
The Māori Purposes Act 2022 (the Act) makes changes to four Acts:
- Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993
- Maori Purposes Act 1959
- Maori Trust Boards Act 1955
- Maori Community Development Act 1962.
The changes to Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 extend certain timeframes for decision making which allows assembled owners of Māori land the option of meeting by electronic means.
Amendments to the Maori Trust Boards Act 1955 ensure Māori Trust Boards can operate more efficiently, including allowing for electronic voting in Trust Board elections.
The Act also makes amendments to Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 to enable the Ruapuha Uekaha Hapū Trust to continue to exist with the same beneficiaries as intended by the 1990 settlement of the WAI 51 Treaty claim and amends the Māori Purposes Act 1959 to provide the Lake Rotoaira Trust more autonomy and flexibility to manage the Lake and its associated trout fishery.
Some of the changes made through the Act can be seen below in detail, and in full at Māori Purposes Act 2022.
Key changes to Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 for landowners
Extension of notice period for Māori freehold land subject to a right of first refusal
If you have an interest in Māori freehold land that is subject to a right of first refusal or are a shareholder in a Māori incorporation, then you need to know that there are changes to Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993.
If you are seeking to sell or gift your interest in Māori freehold land, then you must comply with the requirements in Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993. One of these requirements is giving the right of first refusal under section 147A. Previously, Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 required that the deadline specified in the notice of the right of refusal must be reasonable and no less than 15 working days after the date on which the notice is first published. The Māori Purposes Act 2022 will amend section 147A(5)(b) by changing the 15 working days minimum requirement to no less than 20 working days.
Extension of time frame for giving notice of special resolutions for Māori incorporations
The Māori Purposes Act 2022 has also changed the definition of a special resolution in section 246 to extend to 20 working days, from the previous 15 working days, the minimum time frame for giving notice for a general meeting of shareholders of a Māori incorporation at which a special resolution is to be proposed.
Matters that require a special resolution under the Māori Incorporations Constitution Regulations 1994 include the sale or gifting of Māori freehold land vested in the incorporation. The amendment of the definition of “special resolution” in the Act will therefore extend the notice period for resolutions proposing the sale or gift of Māori freehold land (as well as the other matters that require a special resolution).
Transition from the old law to the new law
Schedule 1 of the Māori Purposes Act 2022 includes transitional provisions relating to the amendments of sections 147A(5)(b) and section 246. These cover the situations where a notice has been given in the 15 working days leading up the commencement date of the Māori Purposes Act 2022. Notices published under section 147A(4) up until the commencement date will still need to state a deadline that is reasonable and at least 15 working days, rather than the new 20 working days requirement. Fifteen working days’ notice is still needed for Māori incorporation meetings at which special resolutions are proposed in the period before the commencement date.
Electronic meetings of assembled owners of Māori land
Meetings of “assembled owners” called under section 173 of Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 are now able to be held via audio-visual link, if the Māori Land Court decides this is appropriate for a meeting (through amendments to section 174 and regulations 2,3, and 7 of the Maori Assembled Owners Regulations 1995).
Other changes to Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993
Improving consistency with the Wai 51 Claim
The Māori Land Court will no longer have jurisdiction to terminate the Ruapuha Uekaha Hapū Trust. This will enable the trust to continue with the same beneficiaries in a manner consistent with the settlement of the WAI 51 Treaty claim.
Changes to the Maori Purposes Act 1959
The changes to the Maori Purposes Act 1959 will provide the Lake Rotoaira Trust more autonomy and flexibility to manage the Lake and associated trout fishery. See Maori Purposes Act 1959 for further detail.
Key changes to the Maori Trust Boards Act 1955 and Māori Trust Boards Regulations 1985
The changes to the Maori Trust Boards Act 1955 and Maori Trust Boards Regulations 1985 will ensure that Māori Trust Boards can operate more efficiently, including by allowing for electronic voting in Trust Board elections and removing Māori Trust Boards from the Cabinet fees framework. See Maori Trust Boards Act 1955 and Maori Trust Boards Regulations 1985 for further detail.
Change to the Maori Community Development Act 1962
The changes to the Maori Community Development Act 1962 will require District Māori Councils to submit their audited financial statements directly to the New Zealand Māori Council rather than to the Chief Executive of Te Puni Kōkiri, as this better reflects other accountabilities in the Act. See Maori Community Development Act 1962 for further detail.