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Rating Māori freehold land

Recent changes to the way that Council can rate Māori Freehold Land mean that ratepayers who own this type of land might need to get in touch. These changes come into effect by 1 July 2021 and you will need to contact us before 30 June 2021 to have them applied for the 2021/2022 rating year.

If you think that any of these changes apply to you, please contact us by email at, phone 0800 474 834, or visit our customer service centre at 36 Weld Street, Hokitika.

These changes are intended to reduce barriers for owners of Māori freehold land who want to use, occupy, and build houses on their land, and to make the rating system easier for landowners and local authorities.

What are the changes


Before July 2021

After July 2021

Wholly unused land

Owners legally obliged to pay rates.

Historic rate arrears on unused Māori land automatically removed and no further rates charged on wholly unused land blocks.


Council could not write off rates considered to be unrecoverable.

Council must write off outstanding rates on any Māori freehold land they consider unrecoverable, including debt inherited from deceased owners.

Individual homeowners

Low-income homeowners on a multi-home Māori land block cannot access a rates reabte.

Upon request, Council can rate individual houses on Māori land as a separate rating unit.


The individual homeowner is then responsible for rates on that rating unit and can access the Rates Rebate Scheme.

Development of Māori Freehold Land

Inconsistent approach across Local Authorities to remit or postpone rates on unused land.

Māori landowners can apply for a rates remission while their land is under development. If the application is successful it will provide some rates relief for Māori landowners while they bring their land into greater use.

Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata land

Local authorities can collect rates on land protected for conservation purposes under Ngā Whenua Rāhui.

All Ngā Whenua Rāhui land is non-rateable and rate arrears written off.

Multiple land blocks

Multiple land blocks from the same parent are rated individually.

Māori landowners can apply to have multiple landblocks from the same parent block treated as a single rating unit (this will reduce the number of uniform annual general charges applied).