October 30, 2020
Maori Land Court marks 150 years of change
Today is the anniversary of the founding of the Native Land Court in 1865, which set up a system to individualise Māori land titles and make it easier.
Historian Buddy Mikaere says in the early years the court was an instrument to individualise Maori land titles and make it easier for land to be sold to Pakeha.
But over 155 years it has evolved into an institution that tries to help Māori retain and use their land.
The composition of the court has also changed.
"When I look at the current line up of Māori Land Court judges the pleasing thing is most, in fact, are Māori now which is a big step forward when you look at the history of the court and also there is an appreciation they have got this legacy so how can so how can we make sure we don't exacerbate the situation and how can we contribute to making things better," Mr Mikaere says.
He says further reform is needed, such as accounting for the fact the majority of owners in many blocks live in Australia.