Māori Legal

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Advice that matters

Māori legal issues are embedded in many facets of law, and many businesses, public entities, and individuals need to understand these issues if they want to operate effectively in Aotearoa.

Our specialist practitioners from across our firm provide clients with meaningful solutions regarding environmental and resource management matters, corporate, commercial, trusts and governance, employment, property and public law, as well as delivering passionate advocacy in courts at all levels.

Environment and Resource Management

With a growing focus on the health and vitality of New Zealand's natural resources, environment and resource management issues continue to attract significant interest in the Māori legal world. Our lawyers advise individuals, hapū, iwi, organisations and large corporates on issues relating to the Resource Management Act 1991, the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf, aquaculture management under Treaty settlement legislation and climate change.

We provide strategic advice on major projects from the planning stage through to securing consents, including in relation to consultation with tangata whenua.

Our team is also well-versed in dealing with sensitive issues such as wāhi tapu and historic heritage, and the development of natural resources including geothermal systems, mineral, forests and other taonga in a sustainable manner.


Our litigators are leaders in their field, with a broad range of experience and significant expertise in resolving complex disputes. Our focus is achieving the objectives of our clients – working with them to minimise risk at the outset through to litigation.

Our advocates have extensive experience in appearing before the courts, appearing in arbitrations and mediations, assisting with negotiation and consulting with Parliament.

Public law

Our team has broad experience in public law. Whether our clients are seeking to engage with central or local government, or pursuing public law litigation, including declaratory proceedings and judicial reviews of administrative action, we bring a unique perspective on Māori public law issues which benefits from the expertise from our Public, Regulatory and Competition team both in Auckland and in the heart of government in Wellington.

Commercial law

Māori clients need assistance in a variety of commercial matters. Our team provides a full suite of commercial services which increasingly involve a Māori element including advising on contracts, as well as specialist advice on post-settlement governance and trust law.


Our specialists offer a unique perspective on Māori related tax issues, providing advice on tax issues affecting Māori organisations and on corporate structuring to align with tax requirements.

Our clients also receive strategic advice on new tax regimes and management of taxation issues in the post-settlement world (including registration of charities to achieve the social aims of iwi and hapū alike).

Settlements under Te Tiriti o Waitangi often lead to significant judgments where we can assist clients with the management of their taxes post settlement.

Our Experience

Our experience includes advising:

  • Ngāti Koata Trust on a dispute relating to the interpretation of its trust deed, and other governance issues and in relation to commercial matters.
  • Ngāti Rangi Development Society Incorporated, which represents Ngāti Rangi, a hapū of Ngāpuhi, on an appeal against the expansion of a geothermal power plant, proposed by Top Energy. Through Environment Court assisted mediation, Ngāti Rangi successfully negotiated amendments to the conditions of the resource consent.
  • Ngāti Hinerangi Trust on its Treaty settlement negotiations and in related mandate issues brought before the Waitangi Tribunal.
  • Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa Ltd in a dispute with the Crown concerning Rights of First Refusal provided by Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Act 2014 that arose when Housing Minister Hon Nick Smith announced housing initiatives that would undermine those rights.
  • Te Rūnanga-ā-Ngāti Kahu in respect of proceedings relating to a proposed development proximate to a historic burial cave, including before the Court of Appeal.
  • Tūhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority, the group seeking to acquire mandate to represent Ngāpuhi in Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiations with the Crown, including before the Waitangi Tribunal in late 2014 and early 2015.
  • Te Rūnanga-ā-iwi-o-Ngāpuhi in relation to the withdrawal of Ngāti Hine under the Māori Fisheries Act 2004 in the Māori Appellate Court in 2012; and providing advice to the Rūnanga on issues relating to mandating requirements for the Treaty settlement process.
  • Te Ohu Kaimoana on aspects of contemporary claims settlements with resource management elements, such as the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement Claims Act 2004.
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