Rates are payable on Māori freehold land, unless the land comes under one of the exceptions in the rates legislation, or Council decides to remit (not collect) or postpone collection of rates for the land.

A person actually using Māori freehold land is liable for the rates if the land is in a rating unit in multiple ownership that is not vested in a trustee; or a separate rating area.

Where trustees are liable to pay the rates on rateable Māori freehold land (Sec 93 Local Government (Rating) Act 2002) trustees are to declare income received from the land to ascertain rates liability, if requested by the local authority.

Rates changes for collectively owned Māori land - The Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Act

In 2021, changes were made to legislation for rates on land collectively owned by Māori. The changes give better recognition to communal ownership of Māori land and situations where multiple houses are on one land block. They also make unused Māori land unrateable, including land under Ngā Whenua Rāhui covenants.

The changes occurred under the Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Act 2021.

Separate rating area for Māori land blocks

From 1 July 2021, occupiers of Multiple Owned Maori Land (MOML) blocks with a dwelling can apply to have a Separate Rating Area (SRA) through your local council office.

This means individual portions of collectively owned land will be allocated to the occupiers for rating purposes, and those people would receive rating invoices directly.

It’s important to understand that this arrangement will be for rating purposes only and will not create any legal property rights.

Occupiers with an SRA will be able to apply for a rates rebate, which was not possible under the old legislation.

Provision to write off uncollectable rate

Under the new legislation there is provision for local councils' and Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s chief executives to write off rates where all practicable steps have been undertaken to collect payment. Please discuss these options with your Local Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Non-rateable Multiple Owned Māori Land (MOML)

From 1 July 2021, Multiple Owned Māori land (MOML) blocks that are unable to be used or are not being utilised will be treated as non-rateable.

Previously, the owners of such land had to apply to Council for a 100% remission to be exempt from paying rates.

Development of Māori freehold land rate remissions

There is now provision for owners and developers to apply for rates remissions while Māori Freehold Land (MFL) is being developed.

Please contact your local council to discuss the current remission and postponement policies.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is working to create our own Whenua Maori Remission and postponement policy in consultation with tangata whenua and local councils by 30 June 2023.

Occupational orders

There is no change for occupational orders that have been granted through the courts.

However, the Māori Land Court is now required to inform councils of any occupational orders that have been granted.

Once we are notified, new rating unit would be set up by the Local Council in accordance with the occupational order. We will contact the new occupier of the new rating unit and determine the property’s value for rating purposes.

People who have an occupational order are eligible to apply for rates rebate.

  • Occupiers of Multiple Owned Maori Land (MOML)
  • Developers of Māori Freehold Land (MFL)

Central Government says the laws were changed because they no longer met expectations about the relationship between Māori and the Crown.

The changes aim to make it easier for whānau to use, develop and live on their tūpuna whenua.

Some of the legislation being changed stretches back to the Māori Land Rating Act 1924.

Building on Māori land - Papakāinga

If you are planning to build on Māori land, there are several things you need to consider.

Your building may need resource consent depending on the type of development and land zoning. Your local council District/City Plan sets out the rules for land use and subdivision activities in your area. Please contact your local Council’s duty planner at the start of your project to find out whether you need resource consent.

You will need a building consent for your building. If you also need resource consent you can apply for your building consent at the same time so they can be processed together.

For the building consent you will need to provide your local council with information about your site to be able to build on Māori land. You also need to provide either a licence to occupy (given by the trustees), an occupation order or a Hapu Partition (issued by the Māori Land Court).

If you receive approval to build, you may be required to pay development contributions and financial contributions when your building consent is issued. These are contributions towards the cost to Council of building infrastructure to accommodate growth within your area, please discuss this with your Local Council.

We're here to help

The key changes to the legislation support the use and development of Māori freehold land.

If you think your land may be non-rateable – please contact your local council or the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Whenua Māori Specialist.

If you require a separate rating area to be created for a separate rate invoices or to apply for a rate rebate - apply through your local council or discuss this with the Whenua Māori Specialist. 

Contact information

If you are affected by these changes and would like to talk through your options, contact our Māori land Specialist Charlie Roddick, Bay of Plenty Regional Council - Kaitohutohu Matua Whenua Maori.