Story: Judicial system

Māori custom law – whāngai

The traditional Māori system of justice, known as Māori custom (or customary) law, covers a range of rights. These include practices relating to adoption, or whāngai. Over time the custom of whāngai has been ignored, recognised or rejected in legislation. From 1901 laws required whāngai (adoptive children) to be registered with the Native Land Court in order to inherit lands from their adoptive parents. From 1909 until 1955 such adoptions had to be made through the Native Land Court. This gazette notice shows applications to adopt under the Maori Land Act 1931.

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Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: ABWN 6095 W5021 257/7/888 Part 1

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How to cite this page:

Philip A. Joseph and Thomas Joseph, 'Judicial system - What is the judicial system?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 September 2023)

Story by Philip A. Joseph and Thomas Joseph, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 11 Oct 2016