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Maori Land Court
[ Costs ] [ Maori Trustee Office ]

The minute books of the Maori Land Court comprise one of the most important sources of information on early Maori history in New Zealand from the time of the first migrations. They are an important source of whakapapa, many from the later period extending across five or more pages. They also contain a vast number of place names and burial grounds, many of which can be located with the help of the original survey plan. Refer to Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) which looks after land boundaries, or the University of Auckland Library's historical maps.

Maori Land Court - Judge's Minute Books

From the 1880s judges kept their own minutes of proceedings and many of these have been preserved as well so that, for some hearings, there are two sets of minutes. The Judges' minute books (in the Auckland Central City Library) are not legally binding if there is a conflict between the two. The Auckland Central City Library also has records from the Family History Centre, Te Kohinga Matua Maori Collectionand Letters to Governor George Grey from Maori organising meetings from around the country.


The minute books were microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in 1963, who retain copyright over the microfilm.

Microfilm Copies

Copies were deposited with Archives New Zealand and various libraries around New Zealand have since obtained parts of this collection.


In 1990, Archives New Zealand brought all the original volumes to Wellington and made photocopies of them. Sets of photocopies relating to each area were sent back to Maori Land Court district offices and for inclusion in Archives New Zealand regional collections.

The Archives New Zealand Auckland Regional Office holds the Tai Tokerau and Waikato Maniapoto MLC minute books from 1865 - 1991. This collection includes a substantial number missed by the LDS microfilming project and not held at the University of Auckland. Iwi organisations and some trust boards also have copies, as well as some Family History Centres and the Auckland Central City Library.

Maori Land Court Minute Books Indexing Project

The University of Auckland Library New Zealand and Pacific Collection, on the fourth floor of the general library building holds microfilm copies of the minute books for the whole of New Zealand from 1865 to 1975. There are also unofficial transcripts of several major cases in the Archives Collection. These may be searched in person.

A database of national MLC minutes books was created in 1993. This is available for purchase through an online order form.


The database for Taitokerau MLC minute books is available through an online order form here at $NZ12.00 for both the main database and the succession / personal database. Databases are Windows 3.11 and Windows 9x compatible and you will need 70 MB hard disk space per database. You are also allowed to make copies of them! The judges' minute books will be available by the end of 1998.

Copies of the Papatupu Block Committee minute books for Northland are held at the Te Hukatai Library in the Maori Studies Department at the University of Auckland.

Maori Trustee Office

The Maori Trustee Office looks after payments to Maori land owners. The Whangarei office address is:

    Private Bag 9004
    Phone: 09 430 3161
    Fax: 09 430 3465

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