The Waitangi Tribunal was established in 1975 by the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. The Tribunal is a permanent commission of inquiry charged with making recommendations on claims brought by Māori, relating to actions or omissions of the Crown that breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi.
The Tribunal comprises up to 20 members who are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Māori Affairs, for their expertise in the matters that are likely to come before them. It has a chairperson who is either a judge or a retired judge of the High Court or the chief judge of the Māori Land Court. Approximately half the members are Māori and half are Pakeha.
The role of the Tribunal includes:
- inquiring into and making recommendations upon any claim properly submitted to the Tribunal
- examining and reporting on any proposed legislation referred to the Tribunal by Parliament or a Minister of the Crown
- making recommendations or determinations in respect of certain Crown forest land, railways land, State-owned enterprise land, and land transferred to educational institutions.
Deadline for new historical Treaty claims has passed
By section 6AA of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 (as inserted by section 6 of the Treaty of Waitangi Amendment Act 2006), the Waitangi Tribunal is not permitted to register claims submitted on or after 2 September 2008 that are either new historical Treaty claims or historical amendments to contemporary claims.
However, new historical claims submitted prior to midnight of 1 September 2008 will still be processed, previoulsy registered historical claims may still be amended at any stage, and new contemporary claims may still be lodged.
For more information go to the Waitangi Tribunal website.
The Tribunal prefers to hear claims in the areas to which they relate and so only maintains a small office in Wellington, where the chairperson and deputy chairperson are based.
The Waitangi Tribunal
141 The Terrace
P O Box 5022
Phone: (04) 914 3000
Fax: (04) 914 3001
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