We are continuing to work on the case against the Crown, following the Supreme Court’s decision in 2017.

We’d like to update you on developments since we talked to whānau during our hui ā-motu in May this year.

We have been focussed on three main areas:

- negotiation

- litigation

- tikanga


Our preference is to resolve the dispute with the Crown via negotiation and settlement, so the Crown is able to restore its mana in a restorative way, rather than more time-consuming and expensive litigation.

We have invited the Crown to engage with us to agree the principles and parameters to govern a settlement.

We have been engaging primarily with the Attorney-General, Hon. David Parker, who has undertaken to come back to us with a response.

If we have not had a substantive response from the Crown soon, we will follow-up again.


We have filed an application with the High Court, asking the Crown Trustee to account for the losses to the Trust estate, including the Nelson Tenths’ Reserve, and pā, urupā and cultivation sites.

This means the Crown has to determine what happened to the land that was a part of the Trust Estate in Whakatū, Motueka and Mōhua, and report back to the Court. The extent of the Crown’s breaches and all remedies available to the whānau will also be determined through the High Court.

If we are unable to settle this matter with the Crown through negotiation, we expect the High Court hearing to take place in 2020.
We have also filed two additional proceedings – a judicial review and a caveat proceeding. We have done this to ensure that the Crown does not dispose of land that is subject to the fiduciary duty obligation.

The caveat appeal was heard by the Court of Appeal earlier in the year and the judicial review appeal will now likely be heard by the Court of Appeal in 2020.

Until these matters are resolved, we have secured an agreement from the Crown and Crown entities that if they intend to dispose of land, we will be notified of it, and can make a decision as to what to do in response at that time.


In 2018, we established our whakapapa and tikanga programme, Te Rākau Pakiaka. This programme is designed to empower our whānau to learn more about their whakapapa and history, and in particular, the history of the Nelson Tenths’ Reserves and the background which led to the Supreme Court case.


Earlier in the year the current affairs show The Hui featured a story about Wakatū which gives a good overview of the background to the case and the current situation - you can view it on Facebook here


We are currently working on a webpage that will keep whānau updated on the various strands of this mahi. We'll let you know as soon as it is live.

We look forward to updating you on progress at our annual general meeting in Whakatū on Saturday 30 November 2019.

Noho ora mai rā me aku mihi nui atu,

Kerensa Johnston
Wakatū CEO