On 17 December 2021, the Court of Appeal issued its decision on the appeal about the proposal to change the status of land in order to allow for the Trust’s development proposals, dismissing the Trust’s appeal.

The Trust has applied to change the status of 55ha of our land to general title, to allow us to more easily raise finance, with the land being held by a development entity. Contrary to some allegations made by a minority of owners, there was no proposal to simply sell the land off; rather it was a practical measure to enable development for housing and other purposes for the betterment of our owners.

Because the process of status change conditional on getting a separate title to the 55ha had not been accepted by the Māori Appellate Court, we took legal advice that an appeal to the Court of Appeal was prudent, in order to clarify the legal position.

The Court of Appeal has made a decision that technically, the change of status cannot proceed without there first being a separate title to the 55ha. The Court said “We agree that the Māori Land Court does not have jurisdiction to make a status order conditional on the issue of a separate title, the trustees cannot proceed to file an application for change of status until a new title exists for the 55.48 hectare block.”

The Trustees are pleased that there is now finality to this technical legal issue, and the court proceedings are over. Since then, the Trustees have worked hard to formulate alternative proposals which may not require the change of status of land, and we look forward to discussing these with owners at a series of upcoming engagement hui in early 2022.