Find out about the application process, application forms and fees and what to expect.

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Applications you can file with us

You can make a wide range of different applications to the court, from succession to determination of ownership of a house to a change in your name.

Our most common applications deal with transfers of shares or management of land.  These applications include:

Other common application types include:  

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Change your name in our records

Our records rely on oral evidence being given during court hearings. Sometimes your name is recorded as the one you are known by in your family rather than your legal name.

When seeking a name change in our records, we will ask you to:

  1. fill in a general application – form 1 (including the whakapapa section)
    Form 1 - General form of application [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include:
    1. evidence of your name change such as a certified copy of your birth or marriage certificate, passport or other legal document which records your correct name
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the filing fee of $20

Find out more about certified copies

We will process your application as soon as possible. There is no need for a formal hearing.

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General civil applications

In addition to being a court of record we are also a court with civil power over Māori land.

This means you may also file applications with us to:

  • decide who owns what on Māori land (such as shares or a house)
  • decide who should benefit from the proceeds from a lease or sale of Māori land
  • hear or determine any claim for damages for trespass on Māori land
  • hear or determine any contract dispute relating to Māori land
  • issue an injunction against any person, agent or organisation (including the Crown), in respect of Māori land.

When making a general civil application, we will ask you to:

  1. fill in a general application
    Form 1 - Form of general application [PDF, 122 KB]
  2. also include sufficient evidence to support your claim to enable the court to make a determination, decision or order
  3. file your completed application with the court and pay the appropriate  filing fee (which could be $60 or $200 depending on the application)

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Apply to the Chief Judge

If you think the court, a judge or a registrar has relied on information that is factually incorrect when making a decision, you may be able to ask the Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court to review that decision.

You need to show the Chief Judge that:

  • there has been an error, omission or mistake in the facts presented to the court, or a registrar when they made their decision
  • the error, omission or mistake has affected you in some way
  • it is in the interests of justice to correct that error, omission or mistake.

The Chief Judge may consider any order made by the Māori Land Court, the Māori Appellate Court or any registrar or deputy registrar of those courts.

The Chief Judge is unable to change or affect:

  • any sale of Māori land (unless you can prove fraud by both the buyer and seller)
  • any land that is now General Land.

Applications to the Chief Judge must be lodged with the Chief Registrar in Wellington where they are managed by a dedicated team.

When making an application to the Chief Judge, we will ask you to:

  1. fill in form 12 - an application to the Chief Judge [PDF, 77 KB]
  2. also include:
    1. detailed evidence to support your claim that there has been an error, omission or mistake which has affected you
    2. contact information for any person who may be affected, including those persons who will be affected if your application is successful
  3. file your completed application with the Chief Registrar in Wellington and pay the filing fee of $200

We can help you find information in our records, but, because of the complex nature of this application, you’ll need to spend time researching our records to gather as much evidence as possible to support your application.

Before proceeding with an application to the Chief Judge we encourage you to get independent legal advice from your lawyer or your local Community Law Centre (external link)

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