Danny’s current project – Māori Trust Boards

Danny is currently researching and writing a history of the 19 Māori Trust Boards that were established by the government between 1922 and 1991. This is a very interesting history.

The project came about during a recent meeting of all Trust Boards held in Wellington in 2019. Kaumātua from Trusts Boards in attendance suggested that such a history should be written; and that their wideranging, individual yet composite stories should be told.  This was especially important since many of the Boards have closed – or are closing – following recent Treaty settlements, with newly configured Māori governance entities being established.


The Minister of Māori Affairs, Rt Hon Nania Mahuta, agreed. Accordingly,  Te Puni Kokiri  (Ministry of Māori Development) have therefore commissioned reknown Māori publishers Huia Publishers of Wellington to publish the book; and Huia Publishers have in turn commissioned Danny to produce the manuscript.

The purpose of the Māori Trust Boards was to receive, and manage, monies granted by the Crown by way of compensation for past Crown wrong-doing. Each Trust Board was different, with different reasons and resources determining the terms under which each Board was established.

From 1922, each Board was set up under a variety of Acts. Some Acts were dedicated to a particular Trust Board’s formation.

Other legislation however was  enacted from time to time to deal with general ‘Māori purposes’, like amending Māori land laws and legislating in support of trustees of land blocks situated all over New Zealand. Included in these general Acts were specific clauses setting up the Trust Boards, or at least, starting the long process by which a Māori Trust Board might be legally established. 

However, in 1955, all of the Boards that had been established to that date were consolidated into new legislation.

The 19 Trust Boards to be covered by the history are:

1. Te Arawa Māori Trust Board, Rotorua, (established) 1922 now closed down

2. Ngāti Tuwharetoa Māori Trust Board, Turangi 1926

3. Ngai Tahu Māori Trust Board, Christchurch, 1928, now closed down

4. Taranaki Māori Trust Board, Waitara 1930

5. Tainui Māori Trust Board, Hamilton 1946  now closed down

6. Wairoa – Waikaremoana Māori Trust Board, Wairoa 1949

Annual Report 2017 of Ngāti Maniapoto Māori Trust Board

7. Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, Opotiki, 1949

8. Aorangi Māori Trust Board, Napier 1950

9. Aupouri Māori Trust Board, 1953 now closed down

10. Taitokerau Māori Trust Board, Whangarei 1953

11. Tuhoe – Waikaremoana Māori Trust Board, Taneatua? 1958.

12 Tauranga-Moana Trust Board, Tauranga, 1981

13. Te Runanga O Ngāti Porou Māori Trust Board, Gisborne, 1987 now closed down

14. Te Runanga O Ngāti Awa Māori Trust Board, Whakatane 1988 now closed down 

15. Hauraki Māori Trust Board, Paeroa 1988

16. Whanganui River Māori Trust Board, Whanganui, 1988 closed down

17. Te Runanga Ō Ngāti Whātua, Whangarei, 1988

18. Ngāti Maniapoto Māori Trust Board, Te Kuiti, 1988

19. Ngāti Whātua Ō Orakei Māori Trust Board, Auckland 1988, Orākei, Auckland 1991 now closed down

Danny’s first draft is due on 30 November. Before then, he will be visiting all of the Boards and conducting research in Archives New Zealand, and Head Office Te Puni Kokiri, where most of the recent Crown files and stored. More info about this interesting project will be posted here from time to time.

If you have any  knowledge /memories / thoughts on the Māori Trust Boards, plse feel free to drop Danny a line at  danny.keenan@newzealandwars.co.nz