History of the Māori Trust Boards

A History of the Māori Trust Boards.

This book was commissioned by Te Puni Kokiri and Minister Naiah Mahuta in 2020. The book is currently going thrū production and will be launched sometime later this year.


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 wide-ranging, 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 Naiah Mahuta, agreed. Accordingly,  Te Puni Kokiri  (Ministry of Māori Development) have therefore commissioned 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.

The first Māori Trust Board, Te Arawa, established 1922, photo taken upon first meeting 1924.

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 ,

2  Tuwharetoa Māori Trust Board, Tūrangi/Taupo, established 1926.

3. Ngai Tahu Māori Trust Board, Christchurch, 1928, now Te Rūnanga O Ngāi Tahu.

4. Taranaki Māori Trust Board, Waitara 1930.

5. Tainui Māori Trust Board, Hamilton 1946  now Waikato Lands Acquisition Trust.

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, Hastings, 1950.

9. Te Aupouri Māori Trust Board, Te Kao, 1953 now Te Rūnanga Nui ō Te Aupouri.

10. Taitokerau Māori Trust Board, Whangarei 1953.

11. Tuhoe – Waikaremoana Māori Trust Board, Taneatua, 1958, now Tūhoe Te Uru Taumātua.

12. Tauranga Moana Māori Trust Board, Tauranga, 1981.

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

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

15. Hauraki Māori Trust Board, Paeroa 1988.

16. Whanganui River Māori Trust Board, Whanganui, 1988, now Ngā Tangata Tiaki o Whanganui.

17. Te Runanga Ō Ngāti Whātua, Whangarei, 1988

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

19. Ngāti Whātua Ō Ōrākei Māori Trust Board, Auckland 1988, now Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust.