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Māori business

Te Waka Ture: He moana pukepuke ka ekengia

He aha te hau e wawara, e wawara

He tiu, he raki,

Nāna i āmai te pūpūtarakihi ki uta, ki uta

E tīkina (atu) e au te kōtiu

(Kukume mai ai).

Koia te pou whakairo ka tū ki te Waitematā

Ka tu ki te Waitemata

I oku wairangi e.1

Tihei mauri ora!

Te Waka Ture, our Māori legal group, is proud to assist iwi and other Māori organisations to achieve their economic, social and cultural objectives. We aim to strengthen relationships, and maximise commercial assets for our clients, while forging sustainable pathways with respect to the past, and a focus on current and future generations.

Te Waka Ture specialises in Māori law issues. We provide commercial legal advice, including governance, to support iwi, hapū, Māori landowners, Māori businesses, and those looking to work alongside them. We understand the benefits and importance of iwi working together to solve challenges using a tikanga-based framework. We therefore actively encourage this where possible, and can facilitate mediation between iwi, when required.

Te Waka Ture team members are agile, working in multi-functional teams to ensure our clients’ needs are met efficiently.

We believe te reo Māori is at the heart of our nation’s foundation. We have formally adopted a reo Māori policy, and our people are encouraged and supported to use te reo Māori where possible, and to seek guidance on te reo Māori and tikanga.

We teach Iwi Corporate Governance at the University of Auckland, New Zealand’s leading university, at both undergraduate and master’s levels. This experience means we are well-informed on historical and contemporary structuring and governance issues, and how these can be addressed with bespoke solutions.

Māori customary values such as kaitiakitanga (stewardship), whanaungatanga (relationships), manaakitanga (supporting people) and tino rangatiratanga (self-determination) are important to us all and illuminate our pathway.

We provide specialist advice for Māori businesses regarding: 

  • Treaty settlement structures, including trust, corporate and charities law
  • post-Treaty settlement transactions
  • property law
  • employment law
  • structuring for joint ventures and collectives
  • Māori land law / Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993
  • the interpretation and application of the Māori Fisheries Act 2004
  • Waitangi Tribunal proceedings
  • complex litigation including judicial review proceedings and urgent injunctions.

Why our clients choose us

Clients like to partner with us because of our respect and understanding of tikanga, and our valuable insight into the important issues. This is gained through our extensive experience working alongside iwi, and enables us to offer informed solutions for the benefit of our clients. 

We are known for our experience developing post-Treaty settlement structures. This enables us to align with best practice in designing and recommending iwi and hapū structures for any business or transaction. Our structures are designed to be fit for the purpose of iwi development, and to offer ease of administration for governors and management. 

Developed post-Treaty settlement structures

Advising Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust regarding the development, ratification and implementation of their Treaty settlement structures. This involved a mixture of charitable and non-charitable trusts and entities.

Delivery of benefits to whānau

Working with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei on a diverse range of issues, including the delivery of social and cultural objectives, such as Toi Tupu (savings scheme), Toi Ora (health insurance scheme) and Kāinga housing (housing for hapū members).

Forestry, joint venture and commercial property

Advising Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara regarding its rights as landowner under a Crown forestry licence, its forestry joint venture with Matariki Forests, its Hobsonville Development, and the restructure of its commercial assets.

Governance and Hohou Te Rongo

Advising Te Whakakitenga o Waikato Incorporated and Te Arataura regarding a range of charities law and governance issues. This included a governance review and amendments to the Rules of the Incorporated Society, which provide for a Hohou Te Rongo tikanga-based disputes resolution procedure.

Developed collective with limited partnerships

Assisting the Iwi Collective Partnership, a consortium of 15 iwi, with the establishment of limited partnership joint ventures for the aggregation of settlement and non-settlement Annual Catch Entitlement (fishing rights).

Forestry, Te Ture Whenua and carbon leasing

Acting for Ngāti Porou Whānui Forests on a carbon-leasing transaction that involved 34 land blocks. Most of those blocks were Māori freehold land and subject to the provisions of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993, requiring an appearance in the Māori Land Court.

Mana whenua and tikanga in the law

Acting for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei on litigation in the Supreme Court and Waitangi Tribunal, together with strategic and political advice relating to the protection of its mana whenua interests.


Advising Treaty negotiators on post-settlement arrangements for freshwater and seawater bodies, including legal personhood.

1 These words were prophesised by the seer Titai telling of the coming of Pākeha to Tāmaki Makaurau around the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

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