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"It is a testament to the ongoing strength of the individuals, whānau, hapū and iwi that fought against the injustice of those early land transactions for near on 180 years, despite the strong resistance of the Crown and its officials."

Professor Claire Charters, University of Auckland, on the 2017 Supreme Court decision

Our Commitment

Te Here-ā-Nuku | Making the Tenths Whole is a commitment to hold the Crown to account to return the whenua owed to the beneficiaries of the Nelson Tenths Reserves and to compensate them for the losses caused by the Crown’s breach of its legal duties.


We, Ngā Uri, the customary landowners, call on the Crown to stop delaying a resolution by continuing with lengthy and expensive court processes and litigation.


We believe the time is right for the Crown to restore its mana by recognising its duty and resolving this matter.

Our High Court hearing ended in October 2023. We believe it is the largest litigation against the Crown in New Zealand’s history. Before the hearing, Uncle Rore and Kerensa Johnston shared their thoughts and aspirations.


“It’s about more than just the return of Trust property such as land…
It’s reconnecting families who have been disconnected;
it’s re-learning whakapapa and history and tikanga…
it’s actually about our whole identity as indigenous people.”


Johny O’Donnell on Making the Tenths Whole

    Johny O’Donnell has been a vocal supporter of Making the Tenths Whole – lending his voice and his

Closing arguments: What the Crown said, what we said

This is a summary of some of the Crown’s closing arguments in Stafford v Attorney-General, and what we put to

Recollections of tūpuna:
Ramari Herewini

The sad story of Ramari Harepeka Poria Herewini is one of many to come out of the broken promise of



Reconnecting whānau to whenua is integral to Making the Tenths Whole.


We are committed to finding and reconnecting whānau who whakapapa to the Nelson Tenths and empowering them to learn more about their whakapapa and history.


Faces of Whānau

We are grateful to the many whānau and supporters who joined us at the High Court during Stafford v Attorney General and to those who share their whakaaro.   

It is time for a resolution

Following a win in the Supreme Court in 2017, which established that the Crown owes a legal duty to the beneficiaries of the Nelson Tenths Reserves, we returned to the Wellington High Court on 14 August 2023.

The purpose of the hearing was to resolve issues relating to the extent of the Crown’s breaches and liabilities, remedies and any potential Crown defences.

The ten-week hearing finished on October 27 2023. We expect a decision early-mid 2024.

The Supreme Court’s decision was the first time a New Zealand court has found that the Crown owes fiduciary duties to Māori landowners to protect their property rights. This litigation is significant and ground-breaking, for Māori and all New Zealanders. 

Our whānau and hapū have been fighting for justice in this case, in some form, for more than 180 years. The time has now come for the government to pursue a principled and pragmatic resolution to this case, which serves the best interests of all parties involved.

Image: Plan of the town of Nelson 1842 showing
the ‘Native Reserves’ in green.

Three core principles underpin this kaupapa

  • The commitment to reconnect whānau to whenua in Nelson, Tasman and Golden Bay (the Nelson Tenths Reserves area)

  • The commitment to Making the Tenths estate whole

  • The commitment to achieve justice and ensure the Crown fulfils its legal duties with respect to our whānau and hapū, the owners of the Nelson Tenths Reserves.
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