He Kaupapa​

Image: Kaumātua Rore Stafford, lead plaintiff against the Attorney-General in the remedies hearing

Outcomes Sought

We are calling for three key remedies and principles to be upheld.

  • Return of land – return of the Nelson Tenths Reserves Land and Whenua Tuku Iho to its owners

  • Making the Tenths whole – restoring the Nelson Tenths Reserves estate and reconnecting whānau to whenua

  • Compensation for losses associated with the Crown’s breach of its legal duties

The Strategy

The Making the Tenths Whole strategy refers to the work programme that is underway to ensure the Crown meets its fiduciary duties to Ngā Uri, and resolves this matter.



The primary strands of the strategy are:



  • Negotiation
  • Litigation
  • Human Rights
  • Tikanga, connection and wellbeing


Our preference is to resolve this matter directly with the Crown by way of settlement outside of court, so that the Crown is able to restore its mana in a restorative way, rather than more time-consuming and expensive litigation.


Following the 2017 Supreme Court decision, we anticipated that the government would meet with us to resolve its legal duties to Ngā Uri, in good faith. This has not happened.


The government’s strategy of continued litigation fails to address its duties as fiduciary in relation to the land and Ngā Uri. We believe the current mindset needs to change to a solution-focused approach. And this must be driven from the top.


We have invited Ministers to engage with us to agree the principles and parameters to govern a resolution. We have been engaging primarily with the Attorney-General, Hon. David Parker, however this has so far proved unsuccessful.


Attorney General David Parker has a defining opportunity to lead a principled and constructive solution.


He must join us at the table to find a solution that aligns with the Supreme Court decision, fulfils the government’s duty as trustee of the Nelson Tenths land, and serves the best interests of the landowners, Nelson, and New Zealand as a whole.


From August to October 2023, we were back  in the High Court for Stafford v Attorney-General, a ten-week hearing to determine three issues:

  • The extent of the Crown’s breach of its duties to the customary owners

  • The extent of the losses, and the remedies that must be provided by the Crown to address those losses; and

  • Any defences the Crown may wish to argue.

We are currently awaiting the decision, which is expected early-mid 2024.

Image: Inside NZ’s Supreme Court where, in 2017, the Court decided that the Crown owes a legal duty to the beneficiaries of the Nelson Tenths Reserves

Human Rights

We are pursuing avenues to show that the Crown’s historic and ongoing actions with regards the Nelson Tenths Reserves constitute a breach of human rights.

These violations can be considered primarily under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and specifically as breaches of:

  • The right to land, territories and resources
  • The right to redress
  • The right to take part in cultural life
  • The right to self determination

They can also be considered under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA).

The purpose of our Human Rights activity is two-fold:

  • To realise the human rights of the Māori customary owners of the Nelson Tenths Reserves.

  • To keep the Nelson Tenths kaupapa at the front of the Government’s mind as we continue our fight for justice

Tikanga, reconnection and wellbeing

The whānau of Wakatū have an intergenerational 500-year vision – Te Pae Tawhiti – which sees us through to 2512. Te Pae Tawhiti was created by whānau and in particular led by rangatahi, over the course of two years, via a series of hui and wānanga.


It is a declaration of our fundamental values, common goals and guiding objectives that will ensure our success and create a strong identity now and in the future.

Image: Whānau delve into whakapapa, history, and background of the Nelson Tenths’ Reserves through the wānanga Te Rākau Pakiaka.