Story: Nation and government

The Māori Land Court

The Māori Land Court

The Māori Land Court determines sometimes complex questions about the ownership of Māori land. This is land held under different sorts of title from most land. The court was first set up immediately after the wars over land in the 1860s, originally to ‘individualise’ Māori title and facilitate the selling of Māori land to Pākehā. It has played a sometimes controversial role in New Zealand life. This photograph, taken around 1900, is believed to show a land court sitting in Tamatekapua meeting house at Ōhinemutu, on the southern shoreline of Lake Rotorua.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 1/2-043266;F

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

John Wilson, 'Nation and government - The legal system', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 27 June 2022)

Story by John Wilson, updated 1 Sep 2016