The Rakiura Māori Lands Trust has a number of projects in progress.

This section provides access to these various projects and their associated information.


This project relates to the ongoing implementation associated with Management Plan associated with the Lords River blocks of Land.The Lords River sections of Land within the Rakiura Māori Lands Trust are subject to the implementation of a Management Plan that has been agreed to between the Trust and the Department of Conservation. This came about as part of the settlement with the Crown on agreeing to preserve this land into the future as though it was a National Park. The following will provide you with more information and progress on this plan.

The Tutae-Ka-WetoWeto Forest (Lords River) Bill – No 68-1. Government Bill. Hon Sandra Lee. 6 October 2000

Rakiura Māori Lands Trust is an ahu whenua trust established under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 in respect of some 31 sections of Māori freehold land on Stewart Island which were provided to Māori individuals in the early 20th century under South Island Landless Natives legislation.

The land has some 4000 beneficial land owners and contains over 3515 hectares of virgin indigenous timber, vegetation and wildlife known as Tutae-Ka-Wetoweto forest. In October 1999, in exchange for “valuable consideration” ($10.9 million, tax exempt), the owners signed a deed of settlement and deed of covenant providing that they would continue to be owners and kaitiaki of the forest, but that they would manage it essentially as a national park and allow controlled public access. The conservation covenant provides for a management plan to be prepared and for the land to be managed to preserve the natural environment, wildlife, freshwater and historic values of the land, and to provide public access (although the Trespass Act 1980 still applies where any limitations on public access are breached). Rakiura Māori will continue to exercise their “Māori customary rights” with respect to the indigenous vegetation and land. No agricultural use will be made of the land for livestock or crops and responsibility for weed, pest and fire control will remain with the trust. The land will not be liable for rates, since it is in effect a national park land. The covenant will be registered against the title to the land under TTWM Act 1993 and will be deemed to be an interest in Māori land.

The Act will be administered by the Department of Conservation under the Conservation Act 1987.

Commentary: the government had originally intended to legislate to prevent these ecologically valuable forests being milled, but settled on a negotiated approach. This is the largest and most significant area of South Island Landless Natives land under indigenous forest cover (Conservation Minister Nick Smith. Media release July 1999).