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.

Te Kooti Pukatono Court Applications

Need help with any stage of the process? You can:

Contact your local Kooti Whenua Māori / Māori Land Court:

  • Click HERE to find details of your local office. You can ask to speak to your case manager and provide the application number (if known). 


Contact the Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre: 


Making an application to Te Kooti Whenua Māori / the Māori Land Court:

1. Figure out which application you are applying for:


2. Find the correct form:


3. Read the form carefully - it will explain what you need to include in your application:

  • Information.
  • Hui / consultation / notification with or to affected people.
  • Documentation.
  • Filing fees.


4. Prepare your application:

  • Collect the information you need and complete the application form - this may require signatures of affected people.
  • Consult or notify affected people - keep records of all your communications.
  • Source the appropriate filing fee.
  • You can request a fee waiver, reduction or refund using Māori Land Court form A1: find the request form by clicking HERE.


5. File your application:

  • Ensure you have all information required to complete the application form.
  • Photocopy your application and supporting documentation for your records.
  • Post or drop your application to your local Māori Land Court office (find contact details HERE).


6. Wait for an acknowledgement letter from the Māori Land Court:

  • This letter will explain the next steps in your application.
  • The letter will include an application number (i.e. A2019000XXXX) and should name your case manager. Ask for your case manager and reference the application number in all communications with the Court.
  • If you do not hear anything for three weeks you should follow up by contacting the Court.
  • Rejection - if you application is rejected the Court should tell you why. 


Different applications take different pathways from this point - if you are not clear what the next steps are from this letter then you should contact your case manager and ask.


If your application involves a formal hearing:

A. Wait for the hearing details from the Māori Land Court:

  • The hearing details will tell you the date, time and location of your hearing. 
  • The letter will also outline if you need to do anything further before the hearing. This may include notifying affected (or potentially affected) parties of the hearing. If this is the case ensure you do these things - if you are unable to or require assistance contact your case manager. 
  • If you (or another whānau representative) is unable to attend the hearing you should contact the Court immediately. You should ask what your options are for rescheduling the hearing, having another attend on your behalf or using video/phone conferencing.
  • If you do not receive hearing details within four weeks from the date of your acknowledgement letter you should contact your case manager.


B. Arrive at the hearing location:

  • The hearing will be before a Māori Land Court Judge and conducted in a kaupapa Māori setting. This may be in a Kooti Whenua Māori / Māori Land Court, general-law Court, a marae or other community based location.
  • You can appear with or without a lawyer. If you would like a lawyer or advocate ensure you organise this in advance of the hearing. 
  • You can bring your whānau and/or support people with you to Court.
  • You should bring all of the application documents and any other relevant documents or information with you.
  • Arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Find the Court staff and they will run you through how the hearing will proceed. They will provide a draft submission (summary of your application) that the Judge will also have. 
  • Ensure you review the documents carefully - if there are mistake let the Court staff know. 
  • Take note of your pānui number - this is the order the applications will be called in. 


C. Attend the hearing

  • Please note sometimes the Court is running late so allow time for this.
  • Your pānui number and application will be called. When this happens stand and approach the front of the Court room. The Court staff will tell you where to sit. 
  • Before you speak to the Judge, the court staff will ask if you would like to swear on the bible or affirm. Doing either is agreeing to tell the truth and that you understand it is a legal offence not to tell the truth. 
  • The Judge will greet you and discuss your application with you. If you do not understand what the Judge has said ensure to ask questions until you do. 
  • The Judge will tell you when the hearing is over and you may leave.
  • If you have any questions about the outcome of the hearing or what to do next, you should ask the Court staff on the day or contact your case manager after the hearing to ask.


D. Wait for the hearing minutes from the Māori Land Court:

  • The minutes are the written record of what was said at the hearing and by whom. You should receive these within two months of the hearing - if not follow up with your case manager. 
  • If there are any mistakes in the minutes contact your case manager and ask them to fix the mistake (if the mistake is important). 
  • Corrected minutes should be re-sent to you - continue to follow up with your case manager until you receive these. 
  • If Orders were made at the hearing you are now waiting on these before your application is complete. If Orders were not made your application may have been adjourned (paused) or dismissed. If you are unsure you should contact your case manager. 


E. Wait for the Orders from the Māori Land Court:

  • The Orders will complete your application. You should receive these within two months of receiving the minutes - if not follow up with your case manager. 
  • Similar to the minutes, if there are any mistakes in the Orders you should ask for them to be fixed (if the mistake is important). Corrected Orders should be re-sent to you - continue to follow up with your case manager until you receive these. 


Your application may be complete at this time. However, different applications take different pathways - if you are not clear what the next steps are from the Orders then you should contact the Court and ask. 

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