July 2012 Contents

Supreme Court

Rivers as navigable public highways - Paki v Attorney-General Supreme Court [2012] NZSC 50

Māori Land Court and Māori Appellate Court

Appointment of trustees – voting procedure and participation levels - Rihia v Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Hikairo

Discharge of interim injunction to prevent eviction from Māori land; no serious questionKerr v Stewart

District, Youth and Family Courts

Announcing court sittings in te reo Māori and English

Waitangi Tribunal

Māori claims to rights over water – Tribunal issues interim direction urging halt to partial privatisation of State-owned power companies

Print Version

Download Māori Law Review July 2012 (540 KB PDF)

Māori Law Review news

Student essay competition - undergraduate law students of Victoria University of Wellington are invited to submit an essay on the most significant legal development affecting Māori in 2011. The winner will receive a $100 book token and will have their essay published in the Māori Law Review.


Māori claims to rights over water – Tribunal issues interim direction urging halt to partial privatisation of State-owned power companies

Memorandum-directions of the Tribunal in the National Fresh Water and Geothermal Resources Inquiry

Waitangi Tribunal (Wai 2358, #2.7.2, 30 July 2012)

The Waitangi Tribunal has issued an interim direction.  The interim direction urges the Crown to halt its planned programme to partially privatise a number of State-owned power companies until the Tribunal’s report on the first stage of its urgent inquiry into Māori claims to freshwater and geothermal resources is released in September 2012 and any recommendations in that report have been considered by Government.

In setting out its view on whether the Crown should proceed with or pause the asset sales programme, the Tribunal has made a number of observations about its role in monitoring the Crown-Māori relationship.

The Māori Law Review will report on the Tribunal’s substantive reports on claims to water and geothermal resources once these are released.

Download Wai 2358, #2.7.2 here (1 MB PDF). read more

Rivers as navigable public highways – Paki v Attorney-General in the Supreme Court

Paki v Attorney-General

Supreme Court [2012] NZSC 50

27 June 2012

What is a navigable river? The Supreme Court has given judgment on this preliminary issue in Paki v Attorney-General. The Court's judgments examine the purpose and effect of the 1903 Parliamentary declaration that the beds of navigable rivers were vested in the Crown. The factual context was a 32 km stretch of the Waikato River previously owned by the Pouakani people. By a majority, the Supreme Court decided this stretch of river was not navigable within the meaning of the Coal-mines Act Amendment Act 1903 and later Acts.

Download Paki v Attorney-General [2012] NZSC 50 here (602 KB PDF).

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Appointment of trustees – voting procedure and participation levels

Rihia v Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Hikairo

Māori Land Court (2012) 287 Aotea MB 44 (287 AOT 44)

19 July 2012

The Court appointed seven replacement trustees to the Lake Rotoaira Trust after an election process. The Court was satisfied the nominated trustees had the appropriate levels of ability, experience and knowledge and were broadly acceptable to the beneficiaries.  Two objections to the process used to run the election were not upheld.  The grounds of objection included that a meeting of owners should have been held and that there should be hapū representatives.  The Court ruled the ahu whenua trust order did not require hapū representatives and that a postal ballot was permitted. The Court made observations about options available to the owners to reinstitute election of hapū representatives and directed a meeting of owners occur within 4 months.

Download Rihia v Te Runanganui o Ngati Hikairo here (208 KB PDF). read more

Discharge of interim injunction to prevent eviction from Māori land; no serious question – Kerr v Stewart

Kerr v Stewart – Maketu A102

Māori Land Court (2012) 58 Waiariki MB 3 (58 WAR 3)

20 July 2012

The Court dismissed an interim injunction it had ordered in June 2012 on the basis that, after hearing further argument, the applicant did not have a tenable case. No serious question arose about his rights to occupy the land administered by trustees for an ahu whenua trust.

Download Kerr v Stewart – Maketu A102 here (168 KB PDF). read more

Announcing court sittings in te reo Māori and English

District, Youth and Family Courts

From 23 July 2012, announcements will be made in both te reo Māori and English for the opening, adjournment and closing of court sittings in the District, Youth and Family Courts.

Download a guide to the phrases that will be used here (254 KB PDF).