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No. 30 (March 1960)
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The Improvement of Maori Land Titles
CONVERSION

This is the third of our series of articles to explain the intricacies of Maori land titles. The Young Leaders Conference considered that more information should be available to the average man. Anyone who seeks further knowledge should send us his questions.

Tei Te Ture Mo Nga Mea Maori 1953 etahi tino ahuatanga hou mo nga mahi Kairiiwhitanga panga tupapaku. No enei tau tata tonu, katahi ano, ka whakawhiwhia Te Kooti Whenua Maori ki nga wariu o nga whenua, hei tohutohu i a ia mo ana whakataunga i nga kairiiwhitanga paanga tupapaku, Mehemea i peneitia i te rue tekau tau kua taha ake nei, ko te tino whakaaro tonu o te kaituhi kua whakatikatikainanoatia atu e nga Tiati me nga Komihana aua ture kairiiwhitanga panga tupapaku, a kua kore e tukua kia penei rawa nga wariu o aua paanga kia mea hereni kia mea kapa noa ranei.

Inaianei takoto ana te tono ki te aroaro o te Kooti kia kairiiwhitia nga panga tupapaku, takoto ana hoki nga wariu o aua whenua kei roto ra te tupapaku hei maramatanga mo taua Kooti. I te nuinga noa iho o aua tono e whakamahia ana te ture whakamoni kua whakamaramatia ake ra hei whakamama. Otira tera atu ano etahi ahuatanga hei whakamama i nga mahi whakatikatika taitara whenua Maori i runga i nga mahi kairiiwhi

 

SUCCESSIONS

In our first instalment we reviewed the law as it stood before 1953. The second article discussed conversion and this article deals with family arrangements and the ten pound rule.

The Maori Affairs Act 1953 contains some imporant new legislation on successions. Until a few years ago the Maori Land Court had not been provided with valuations to guide it in succession proceedings. If this had been the case, say, 20 years ago, it is the writer's opinion that the Judges and Commissioners as a body would long ago have asked for a discretion to avoid creating more and more interests of less and less value, often worth only a few shillings or even pence, on succession.

 
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panga tupapaku. Ina aua ahuatanga:

(a)

Ko Te Tuku i aua Panga Tupapaku he Tangata ke i runga ano i te whakaae a te hunga mo ratou aua panga.

Ki te whakaae te hunga mo ratou ra nga paanga o totahi tupapa ku kia tukua te paanga o tetahi kairiiwhi nga paanga ranei o etahi kairiiwhi he tangata ke e ahei ana Te Kooti ki te whakatau i taua tuku.

(b)

Ko nga whakatikatika a whanau me era atu ahuatanga i runga i te whakaae, kore whakaae ranei.

E ahei ana te Kooti Whenua Maori ki te whakatau i te tuku o nga paanga o tetahi kairiiwhi mona nga paanga tupapaku he tangata ke whai paanga ano kei taua whenua i roto ra taua tupapaku, a mehemea ki te whakaaro o te Kooti koia ra te huarahi tika ka whakataua taua tuku ahakoa takoto te kupu whakahe ki tona aroaro. Ko te hiahia ia o te Kooti me ata korerorero marika nga whanaunga tata o te tupapaku mo nga mahi kairiiwhitanga i ona paanga whenua, a i runga i tenei ahuatanga kei te whakapau nga kairehita o te Kooti i o ratou kaha ki te whakamarama ki taua hunga i nga huarahi hei whakamama i nga mahi. He apiha motuhake to te Kooti koianei tana mahi he whakamarama ki te hunga e tono ana kia kairiiwhitia nga paanga tupapaku, i nga huarahi e tau pai ai aua paanga. Otira ahakoa peheatia ko te nuinga o nga paanga tupapaku ina noa ake te wariu a kaore rawa e tu te po te hui rawa o te hunga mo ratou aua panga a na reira ko “Te Ture Tekau Pauna” hei whakamahinga ma te Kooti.

(c)

Ko Te Ture Takau Pauna.

E ahei ana te Kooti ki te tuku i te paanga o tetahi tupapaku ki te tangata kotahi tokorua ranei, mahue ake etahi o te hunga mo ratou te paanga o taua tupapaku ahakoa kaore taua hunga i whakaae kia peratia, mehemea kei raro iho i te tekau pauna te wariu o te hea mo ia kairiiwhi i mahue ra ki waho, a mehemea hoki kaore i neke atu i te tekau pauna te wariu o te hea mo ia kairiiwhi e whakaurua. E ahei ana hoki te Kooti ki te tuku i tetahi paanga tekau pauna heke iho te wariu ki te tangata ke kotahi kei roto ano i taua whenua, mehemea i neke atu i te kotahi te hunga e tika ana mo ratou taua panga tupapaku ahakoa whakahe taua hunga, a kaore he utu mo taua kairiiwhitanga. Otira kaore tenei ture e pa ki nga whenua rahui.

Kotahi ano te uauatanga o te whakamana i te Ture Tekau pauna nei. Ka rongo te hunga i mahue ra ki waho i te taitara kua oti te tono kairiiwhi te whakatau. Kaore ratou e whakapae ki te Kooti engari ki te mea o ratou nana te take i kawe ki te aroaro o taua Kooti, nona te he i murua ai o ratou whenua. Kaore tenei i te tika, he mana tenei i whakamaua ki te ringa o te Kooti. Na runga i tenei whakapae a nga mea ngaro ke ka koroukore nga mea kei te patata ki te whenua ki te kawe i nga take penei ki te aroaro o te Kooti. Na reira ko te whakaaaro o te Kooti

 
 

When succession orders are made today valuations are always provided for the Court's information. In many cases, the conversion fund is used and consolidated orders made as described in my last article. Even where the conversion fund is not used, many useful techniques exist to improve titles when handing Maori land over to successors. These techniques are:

(a)

Vesting of Beneficiary's Shares in other persons with Consent: The Court may with the consent of a beneficiary vest the whole or part of the share of that beneficiary in any other person or persons.

(b)

Family and Other Arrangements with or without consent: The Court may give effect to an arrangement or agreement whereby the share of any beneficiary is to be given to any other person who has a beneficial interest in any land in which the deceased was an owner, and—if the Court is satisfied that any projected arrangement is fair and equitable and not contrary to the interests of the persons concerned—it may give effect to it notwithstanding that any of those persons has not consented or even if any of them objects. The Court prefers adjusted successions of this sort to be by family agreement and to an increasing degree the Registrars are arming applicants for succession with all the information required to enable a family arrangement to be made. The Court also makes an officer available to advise and assist owners or beneficiaries towards this purpose. Unfortunately in a great many cases the interests are so small that the expense to owners of gathering scattered members of a family together is not warranted, and it was for this reason primarily that the £10 rule became law, and is invoked by the Court.

(c)

The “£10 Rule”: The Court may vest the whole of the interest of a deceased person in any one or more beneficiaries to the exclusion of any other beneficiary without the consent of the person(s) so excluded and without payment, provided that no beneficiary shall be excluded if the value of the share to which he is entitled exceeds £10, and provided that the share of any of the persons benefiting is not thereby increased by more than £10. The Court may also vest any interest of £10 or less to which more than one person is entitled to succeed, in any other persons beneficially interested in the land without the consent of the persons excluded and without payment. None of these provisions, however, applies to reserved lands.

One difficulty that the writer has encountered in giving effect to the £10 rule is that the Court is able to explain its authority for this, and the reason for it, only to the person or persons who actually attend in Court. Often when the “excluded” beneficiaries hear of what has happened they do not understand it and consider that they have been “disinherited” for no good reason. In many cases they blame the person prosecuting the application for what has happened, whereas in

 
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me panul whanui nga rerenga o tenei ture hei matakitaki ma te katoa ko te tino whai ke he whakatikatika i nga taitara o nga whenua. Ko to te kaituhi ko tona whakaaro ka penei te ahuatanga o nga panga whenua tupapaku ko te mea tika me tuhi he reta ki taua hunga mo ratou ra nga panga a ka whakamarama i te Ture kia mohio iho ai ratou kei te Kooti te mana motuhake.

Ina etahi whakataunga a te Kooti hei matakitaki ma nga kaikorero o enei tuhituhinga.

(i)

Ka mahue iho tekau ma ono te hunga ra mo ratou nga paanga o tetahi tupapaku i roto o nga poraka 26. Kotahi te paanga e £78 te wariu ko te toenga i raro iho ranei i te £10 te wariu kaore ranei i mohiotia. Ko te whakatau a te Kooti ko te panga e £78 te wariu ko te hea kei tetahi kaporeihana, kaore i mohiotia e te Kooti te wariu, me te hea i tetahi poraka ngahere, kaore ano i mohiotia te wariu, i tukua ki te katoa o taua hunga ko te toenga o nga paanga i peneitia. E rua hea ki ia tamaiti ake a te tupapaku, e rua hea ki ia mokopuna a nga tamariki pakeke a ki nga mokopuna tokowha a nga tamariki tomuri kotahi hea i te mea kotahi. Ko ta te Kooti tenei i whakatau ai a ko nga moni reti i te takoto i karawarawatia ki te katoa o nga kaiririiwhi.

(ii)

Kotahi te hea o te tupapaku ko te wariu e £26. 5. 0. a ko nga moni reti i te putu e £14. 16. 8. Tokorua nga tamariki a te tupapaku ko nga whenua i tukua ki te mea pakeke a ko nga moni reti haunga te utu o te Kootitanga i tukua ki te mea tamariki. I te aroaro ngatahi raua o te Kooti a i whakaae raua ki taua whakataunga.

(iii)

Kotahi te paanga o tetahi tupapaku £19 te wariu o ko etahi atu paanga e whitu hui katoa te wariu £16. Tokorua nga tamariki. Ka tukua e te Kooti ko te panga £19 ra te wariu ki te tamahine a ko nga panga e whitu £16 te wariu ki te tama. Ko nga reti i te putu i tukua ki a raua tahi.

(iv)

E rua nga paanga o tetahi tupapaku £19 te wariu o tetahi e £8 to tetahi. Tekau ma waru te hunga hei kairiiwhi he mokopuna te nuinga, Ka whakataua e te Kooti; ko te hea £19 ra te wariu ki te matamua o nga tamariki tane, he tokomaha ana tamariki a ko ia te mea e noho tata ana ki te whenua, ko te nuinga hoki o nga tamariki a taua tupapaku kua marara ki te whenua. Ko te panga e £8 ra te wariu i tukua ki te mokopuna tane matamua. Ko nga mono reti i te putu i tukua ki te katoa.

 

actual fact the responsibility must always be that of the Court. Because of this “blame” it has been found that some people have become chary of prosecuting applications for succession. One way to remedy this is to give sufficient publicity to this provision and to the need for, and the means of, title improvement generally, so that the people concerned will understand the reasons for which such orders are made. The writer has developed the practice of informing the persons concerned that the Act, for reasons which are then explained, gives the Court a discretion to so dispose of these minute shares, and the responsibility is not theirs but wholly and solely that of the Court.

It will perhaps be of value to readers to give a small selection of instances in which the £10 rule and similar powers were invoked recently in one district.

(i)

Deceased left 16 successors and interests in 26 blocks, one valued at £78, while the value of the other 25 was under £10 or unknown. The Court awarded the £78 interest, as well as one of the small interests which was in an incorporated block (of which the Court did not have information as to the full value) and another interest in a “timber block” (also without full details of value) to all the successors in their respective shares. All the other minute interests were each awarded to one successor only, those of the first generation of descendants getting two interests and those of the second generation getting two interests or one interest each, the eldest being given priority. Th four youngest grandchildren received one each. The distribution in this case could have been made in any one of numerous ways but in the particular circumstances this seemed to the Court the fairest disposition possible. The accumulated rents went to all the successors in their “original” shares.

(ii)

Deceased left one interest, valued at £6/5/-, and accumulated rents amounting to £4/16/8. There were two children. The Court vested the land in the elder of them—and the rents less Court fees, went to the younger. The two beneficiaries were present and approved this disposition.

(ii)

Deceased left one interest worth £19 and seven others worth £16 in all. There were two children. The Court vested the £19 interest in the daughter and the seven others in the son. The accumulated rents went to the two equally.

(iv)

Deceased left two interests valued at £19 and £8 respectively. There were 18 persons entited to succeed, mostly grandchildren. The £19 share went to the eldest son, who had a large family and was still living near the land (most of the other children were scattered and were daughters) and the £8 interest to the eldest grandson. The rents went to all 18 persons in their “original” shares.