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Māori Business & Treaty of Waitangi

Our Māori business group offers understanding, insight and a proven track record in working with and advising iwi, and Māori business organisations. 

We work across our specialist practice areas to provide commercial, policy, strategic, and regulatory advice. We are proven experts in iwi business development, corporate bodies, trusts, and commercial law. We also have specialist litigators who work closely with Māori to solve disputes quickly and effectively. Our Māori business specialists also advise on strategic issues related to the growth and development of iwi organisations post settlement.

Our many years of experience has given us an in-depth appreciation of the complexity and sensitivities involved in this often high-profile area. We have also developed strong, collaborative relationships with the individuals, entities, and agencies working to address the issues affecting Māori and the Crown.

Building our capability

Our commitment to our Māori business clients hinges on the fact that we constantly strive to improve the way we work with them. This means demonstrating not only an understanding of our client's business but proving our commitment to long term relationships and enhancing the way we are able to better service clients in this area. The following examples highlight how we are doing this:

  • Te Reo Programme: A group of our senior people have undertaken a Te Reo Māori Language course facilitated by Te Wānanga o Aoteroa. We will continue to engage with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa to continue our learning. 
  • Launched our  firm Waiata - Tomo Mai: This song was written by property senior associate, Sandy Donaldson's grandfather Henare Waitoa for the Māori soldiers of the 28th Māori Battalion and for the soldiers of the Second World War. Sandy gifted this song to the firm to be used as the firm's Waiata.
  • Global Woman - Tupu Toa: Simpson Grierson has a longstanding relationship with Tupu Toa including providing pro bono legal advice to assist with the launch of this fantastic initiative. Tupu Toa focusses on assisting Māori and Pasifika graduates to find meaningful work in corporate New Zealand into the future.
  • Hapai Te Hauora: We provided pro bono legal advice to help our friends at Hapai Te Hauora with their tobacco and Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) work. We also helped them to remove an online gaming product which included images appropriated from Māori culture. Read more here
  • Te Patuwai Hapu: We acted for Te Patawai in its effort to allow the MV Rena to remain on the Astrolabe reef in Tauranga. We acted pro bono at the Council hearing stage (including appearing at the Council hearing and environment Court mediation) and did a lot of work pro bono on their appeal - which has now been settled.

Examples of our work

  • Te Wānanga o Aotearoa - advising on a range of commercial, property, employment, intellectual property, and other issues
  • Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (TRoNT) - advising and representing TRoNT on statutory reviews of regional planning documents which address nutrient management and water quality issues. Also providing advice on strategic and governance issues
  • Māori Television - advising on a range of legal issues, in particular news and current affairs matters
  • Waikato-Tainui Group - advising on resource management, local government, tax, governance, and commercial property matters
  • Waikato Regional Council - advising on Treaty of Waitangi issues relating to a proposed plan change
  • Tuaropaki Trust - numerous projects, including obtaining resource consents for geothermal power station, and advising on finance and construction issues
  • Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust - acting for the commercial arm of the trust in refinancing and restructuring of debt facilities
  • Te Ohu Kai Moana Trustee (TOKMTL) - advising on amendments to the Māori Fisheries Act 2004 following a statutory review; and related amendments to the trust deeds and constitutions of TOKMTL, Te Putea Whakatupu Trust and Te Wai Māori Trust, and the constitution of Aotearoa Fisheries
  • New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) - advising NPDC as promoter of a local Bill addressing Waitara land issues which includes vesting land in Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Trust, and providing for a Board appointed by the Trust and NPDC to administer net proceeds of rents and sales of perpetual leasehold land in the Pekapeka Block and elsewhere in Waitara 
  • Tauhara North No2 Trust - strategic advice associated with Treaty of Waitangi negotiations
  • Hapai Te Hauora - advised on the removal of an online gaming product, created by an international company, which included images appropriated from Māori culture
  • Local authorities and local government organisations - advice and assistance with iwi engagement and joint decision-making
  • Te Arawa River Iwi Trust - advising on a wide range of employment related matters
  • Te Reo Whakapuaki Iri Rangi - supply, implementation, and support of a national broadcast distribution network system for over 21 Māori radio stations, funded by Te Māngai Pāho (the Māori broadcasting funding agency)