Tamaki Legal specialises in Māori land law relating to the foreshore and seabed, treaty law, and environmental law.

We also offer advice in relation to the settlement of historical Treaty claims. The company’s ethos is “whiitiki koe”—ready yourself (for battle).

Tamaki Legal Experience

As a result of the amount of work completed over the years in the Treaty claims and Maori land law areas, we are highly experienced with representing Maori litigants before the Waitangi Tribunal and the Maori Land Court.

Tamaki Legal has represented claimants in many different Waitangi Tribunal inquiries including the East Coast inquiry, the Wairarapa inquiry, the National Park inquiry, the Whanganui inquiry, Te Rohe Potae inquiry, the Northland inquiry, the Porirua ki Manawatu inquiry, the Taihape inquiry and in the Te Urewera inquiry. As a result, we have built up a considerable amount of expertise in relation to researching and presenting historical Treaty claims. We have researched and prepared claims concerning the Native Land Court, Crown land purchasing policy, public works takings, the desecration of waahi tapu, New Zealand’s constitution, the environment, the Maori Trustee, local government, war and raupatu, landlocked land, land development schemes, rating, education, native townships, health, mental health and others.

We utilize research available from the commissioned historians and carry out our own historical and legal research as well, when required. Over the years we have prepared numerous statements of evidence, statements of claim, research analyses, memoranda of counsel and other claim-related documentation.

We have also represented claimants in a number of urgent hearing applications to the Waitangi Tribunal. Typically, the urgent hearings we have been involved with have concerned the Crown’s settlement policy. That said, we have also been involved with urgency hearings in relation to the foreshore and seabed and the ownership of water.

Tamaki Legal was integral to the Crown’s recognition of Ngati Hinerangi as an iwi in its own right. Ngati Hinerangi’s rohe is in the Matamata-Piako and Tauranga Moana districts. Prior to our being engaged by the iwi, the Crown considered Ngati Hinerangi to be a hapu of Ngati Raukawa. Eventually we filed an urgency application to the Waitangi Tribunal on the iwi’s behalf that challenged Raukawa’s ability to settle Ngati Hinerangi’s historical Treaty claims. We prepared all of the documentation including the briefs of evidence that set out the evidence for the separate iwi status of Ngati Hinerangi. The Tribunal decided to grant a hearing of the urgency application and with that the Crown conceded. In conceding, the Crown acknowledged that Ngati Hinerangi was not a hapu of Ngati Raukawa and by implication the Crown also conceded that Ngati Hinerangi was a stand-alone iwi in its own right. Ngati Hinerangi are now well on their way towards a Treaty settlement with the Crown.

We represent claimants in both of the current Kaupapa Maori inquiries. Kaupapa Maori inquiries concern both historical and contemporary Treaty claims and they are conducted on a national basis (as opposed to a district-wide basis). The first inquiry concerns the military service of Maori war veterans and the effect of that service on them and on their whanau. The second relates to health services and outcomes for Maori. The next two Kaupapa Inquiries are now in the beginning phases, the third being the Mana Wahine Inquiry and the fourth, the Housing Policy and Services Inquiry.  Our participation in the first of these inquiries has provided us with the necessary experience for involvement in future inquiries of this nature.

We also act for various whanau, hapu and iwi in relation to applications pursuant to the Marine and Coastal Area Act 2011. If successful these applications will confirm the rights and interests that our clientele have in their foreshore and seabed areas. The cost of preparing and presenting these applications is met by the Office of Treaty Settlements.

Recently, the firm decided to take on clients with environmental law-related issues.