Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre

We provide a free legal service for Māori land matters and aim to educate and empower all members of our community.

Farewell to Haines

Farewell to Haines

Sadly, the Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre has said farewell to Haines after 11 years of sterling service. Haines has a new position with the Ministry of Primary Industries, where he will be working with Māori land owners to help utilise their land. This is somewhat a natural progression from the mahi he did with the Law Centre.

During his time at the Law Centre, Haines assisted many whānau with succession, forming trusts and partitions to help whānau build and live on their land. His whakapapa knowledge is immense and on several occasions whānau were astounded that he had connected them to half of Ngāi Tahu within a short time of meeting them.

Haines’ resignation will leave a huge gap in the operations of the Law Centre. Fortunately, we have a willing and able team who are most capable of providing the high level of service our community has come to expect from the Law Centre.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Haines for his tireless efforts over the years and wish him well with his future career path. We look forward to hearing updates from the other side!

Manaaki whenua, manaaki tangata, haere whakamua – care for the land, care for the people, go forward

RE: Hawea/Wanaka Substitute land (SILNA) potential successors list

You may be aware the Māori Land Court are currently working towards updating the list of potential successors for the Hawea/Wanaka Substitute land (being section 2 of 5 Block XIV, Lower Wanaka SD) – (SILNA) Block.


Many of the potential successors currently on the list are deceased – if your tipuna is on that list, you need to succeed to them. The Court is looking to hold a meeting of potential successors (hopefully this year) so you need to succeed in order to participate!


To succeed to SILNA lands you need to file a special succession application to the Court. These applications are simpler than succeeding to other Māori land interests, all you need is 1) the death certificate for the potential successor, and 2) their whakapapa information – it’s that easy!


Please note, we will not be taking new clients specifically for SILNA applications – but are happy to assist with initial enquiries. If you send an email to with the name/s of the tipuna and their children, we can confirm whether they are on the list and if so, provide you with a SILNA application form.


Alternatively, you can go direct to the Māori Land Court at and enquire with them.

Mihi to Brylee / Welcome to Florence

The end of 2019 saw us bid farewell to one of our lawyers, Brylee Sawyer. Brylee started with the Centre back in 2016 and is off to explore the world for the next two years! Brylee has been an integral member of the team and will be dearly missed by the Law Centre and her clients.

Ngā mihi ki a koe, Brylee, i tō mahi.  Haere pai atu. 



At this time we wish to welcome our new law graduate, Florence Dean. Florence finished studying law at the University of Otago in 2019. She is currently working as Law Clerk, soon to be a Lawyer following her admission. We are excited to have Florence on board coming into the new decade. Nau mai, haere mai!

Our newest enrolled lawyer!

Mihi to Jessie Paterson, NTMLC's newest enrolled barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand! We first met Jessie in 2017 when she took Otago University's Māori Land Law paper – we run their Mock Māori Land Court assignment. After this Jessie came on with us as a volunteer; was later taken on as a law clerk and is now our newest enrolled rōia/lawyer! Massive congratulations Jessie! Thanks Haines for supporting Jessie's admission!

Nau mai, haere mai to Jessie

Nau mai, haere mai to Jessie

Nau mai, haere mai to Jessie Paterson NTMLC's newest team member! Jessie has been volunteering for our law centre since July 2017, and is now with us full time as a law clerk and soon to be admitted as a new lawyer! Jessie grew up in Southland and graduated from the University of Otago last year with a law degree and arts degree focusing on politics and indigenous studies. We are excited to be expanding our team and look forward to taking on new challenges with Jessie's help!

Mihi to Amalie

Mihi to Amalie

A big mihi to our law clerk Amalie who has been with us for the past 18 months. Last Friday was Amalie's last day at the Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre before she heads home for the summer and then to Hong Kong for her next great adventure! We are all so grateful to have worked alongside you and wish you and your whānau all the best of luck for the future. He whakawhetai ki a Amalie mō tō mahi, mō tō awhi, mō tō aroha.
Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei / If you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.

Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre 25th Birthday


The Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre was established in 1993 by our three local Ngāi Tahu Rūnaka; Te Rūnanga o Moeraki, Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki and Te Rūnaka o Ōtākou. Our law centre has assisted some 15,000 people, including whānau, hapū and Māori organisations with legal information and advice in our 25 years, as well as providing legal education to numerous more. We are proud to work with and for our Ngāi Tahu and Te Waipounamu mātāwaka community and look forward to doing so over the next 25 years.

We have celebrated our quarter century with the release of our new and improved website. Our goal with this website is to improve the access of our community to legal information and to support and empower whānau to manage their Māori land matters themselves, or to find the right help when they need it. Kōrero mai and let us know what you think!

Rā whānau ki te mātou!

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