New Zealand Ownership of the Foreshore and Sea-Bed The general rule in New Zealand is that title to the foreshore and sea-bed vests in the Crown. This is the result of the acquisition by the Crown of sovereignty over New Zealand with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The introduction of the English system of land tenure took place over a protracted period of time subsequent to the Treaty and can be defined with neither neatness nor precision, but certainly the Crown assumed dominant control of land transactions from 1840 onwards. This, however, was subject to Maori customary rights. In 1965 a Native Land Court was established to determine, on the basis of tikanga Maori (Maori custom) who the owners of Maori land were. Once this had been determined, the land was transformed into a fee simple estate and held by Maori as a group by way of tenancy in common. While this produced a certain order in the organisation of land holdings, it also led to the alienation of considerable amounts of Maori land through sale. 1 Attempts to consolidate Maori land holdings and to further their development have occurred at various stages during
The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1998
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