Māori Business

We provide expert legal and strategic advice that is grounded in our understanding of Tikanga Māori, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Ā Mātau Ratonga Ture | Our Services

By partnering with iwi and Māori, we take the time to understand our clients' kaupapa and work to co-develop solutions that align with their cultural, social, environmental and economic aspirations. 

Embracing kōtahitanga is essential to any long-term relationship, and particularly important to us when assisting our clients to navigate the complex legal and commercial landscapes of the Māori economy.

Acknowledging the unique challenges that face Māori landowners in pursuing economic development, we are dedicated to support Māori in unlocking the potential in their whenua, and asset base, to achieve transformative outcomes for whānau, hapū and iwi. 

We also advise Government, Local Government and private sector participants on the way in which evolving treaty jurisprudence and commercial/societal expectations relating to treaty principles affect their business practices. We regularly advise non-Māori organisations on the intersection between tikanga and the law, effective iwi and Māori engagement, and partnership opportunities with iwi and Māori businesses.

Ko Mātou Prirpono ki Te Ao Māori | Our Commitment to Te Ao Māori 

We know that being excellent as lawyers - for whānau, hapū and iwi - requires more than just knowing the law.

Elevating our capacity and capability in Te Ao Māori is therefore a key focus, which we have committed to in our Ngā Mātāpono o Te Reo Māori o Simpson Grierson. Our principles value te reo Māori as a core pillar to enhance our relationship with tāngata whenua, and are key in promoting and encouraging the learning of te reo Māori through internal and external education opportunities.

We have a deep respect for te reo, tikanga, kawa and mātāpono Māori, and have endeavoured to embed these throughout our service delivery. This includes embracing values and principles such as whakawhanaungatanga (building relationships), manaakitanga (supporting others, generosity), rangatiratanga (leadership) and kaitiakitanga (stewardship and guardianship).

Ko Mātou Pūkenga | Our Expertise

With a proud history of being trusted advisors to iwi and Māori organisations, our team of specialists draw on a wealth of experience in:

  • Corporate and Commercial Law
  • Planning and Resource Management
  • Natural Resources (Water, Forestry, Carbon Farming and ETS issues)
  • Renewable Energy Generation (Geothermal, Green Hydrogen Solar and Wind)
  • Charitable Trusts and Tax Structuring
  • Indigenous Intellectual Property and Mātauranga Māori
  • Māori Land & Te Ture Whenua Māori Act issues
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi issues
  • Commercial Property
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Public law issues

Work Highlights

Ko Mātou Kiritaki | Our Clients

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

We provide full-service advice covering commercial, property, employment, intellectual property, and other issues.

Māori Television

We advise on a range of legal issues, in particular news and current affairs matters.

Waikato-Tainui Group

We advise on resource management, local government and commercial property matters.

Waikato Regional Council

We have advised on Treaty of Waitangi issues relating to a proposed plan change.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei 

We act on a range of financing, commercial and property issues. 

Te Ohu Kai Moana Trustee (TOKMTL)

We advised 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)

We advised NPDC as promoter of a local Bill addressing Waitara land issues which included 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.

Te Reo Whakapuaki Irirangi

We advised on the 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).

Commercial Contracts | Limited Partnerships

Advising Te Hauora o Ngāpuhi on a limited partnership in relation to a post-clinical telehealth centre owned by several iwi and a social enterprise. 

Resource Management | Court Proceedings

Acting for Auckland Council in proceedings that successfully protected wāhi tapu and cultural landscapes important to mana whenua from rezoning and proposed development. 

Local Government | Māori Engagement

Advising Auckland Transport on its Māori engagement strategy. Assisting mana whenua groups to establish a kaitiaki forum to advise local government.

Wai Māori | Freshwater Issues

Advising and representing Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu on freshwater quality issues, and resource and nutrient allocation. 

Renewables | Joint Ventures

Advising Māori geothermal energy provider, Tūaropaki Trust, on a green hydrogen generation joint-venture opportunity with an off-shore participant. 

Forestry | ETS

Advising Māori forestry owners in relation to the Crown’s failure to adequately consult Māori under the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) review.

Iwi Corporate Governance | Tax Structuring

Advising Waikato-Tainui entities on a range of corporate governance and tax matters.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi

Providing strategic advice associated with Treaty of Waitangi negotiations to Tauhara North No.2 Trust. We have also advised several Local Government and CCOs on iwi and Māori engagaement and their respective Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations. 

Commercial Property | Whenua Pākihi

Advising several iwi and Māori organisations on commercial property matters, including Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Waikato-Tainui and Whakaata Māori.

M&A | Capital Raising

Advising a property syndication firm and several iwi to establish a property fund that aims to embed a Te Ao Māori worldview.

Intellectual Property | Media

Advising Whakaata Māori on various commercial, media, and funding matters.

Regional Planning

We advise and represent Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu on statutory reviews of regional planning documents which address nutrient management and water quality issues.

Hāpai i te Hāpori | Supporting the Community

We actively support Māori community organisations and individuals through providing pro bono services. Some of our clients include:

  • TupuToa: We have a longstanding relationship with TupuToa which assists Māori and Pasifika graduates to find meaningful work in corporate pathways.
  • Hāpai Te Hauora: We provide pro bono advice to assist Hāpai Te Hauora with their tobacco and Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) mahi. We also helped them to remove an online gaming product which included images misappropriated from Māori culture.
  • Kaumātua Rangi McLean: We provided an important piece of pro bono work relating to the appropriation of an image of Tūhoe kaumatua, Tunuiarangi Rangi McLean. The artwork was successfully removed from an online marketplace within 24 hours of our team sending a cease and desist letter.
  • Te Patuwai Hapū: We acted for Te Patuwai Hapū and Ngāti Awa to oppose the proposal to allow the MV Rena to remain on the Astrolabe reef |Ōtaiti in the Bay of Plenty. We acted pro bono at the Council hearing stage and worked on their appeal – which has now settled.
  • Hawaiiki TU: We advised Hawaiki TU Arts Foundation on the establishment and review of its Charitable Trust.
  • Te Ara Pōtiki Trust: We also advised Te Ara Pōtiki Trust on the establishment of its charitable trust, with the purpose of to supporting and uplifting Māori by promoting pathways to high growth start-ups and technology companies.

Insights & News