About the Trust
Crown Forestry Rental Trust was set up under the Crown Forest Assets Act 1989, after the New Zealand Māori Council and Federation of Māori Authorities took court action to protect Māori interests in the Crown’s commercial forests.
The Act allowed the Crown to sell licences for forestry, but prevented it from selling the land itself until the Waitangi Tribunal recommends who has ownership of the land - Māori or the Crown.
Crown Forestry Rental Trust (‘the Trust’):
- Operates within a Trust Deed
- Assists eligible Māori claimants to prepare, present and negotiate claims against the Crown, which involve, or could involve, Crown forest licensed lands, and
- Reports annually to the Minister of Finance, who is the Trustees’ Crown appointor, and to the New Zealand Māori Council (NZMC) and Federation of Māori Authorities Incorporated (FOMA), who are jointly the Trustees' Maori Appointor.
The Trust funds come from Annual Rental Fees for licences to use certain Crown forest licensed lands. Until the beneficial owners of the lands have been determined, the Trust:
- Invests the rental proceeds and holds them in trust, and
- Applies the interest earned on the rental proceeds to help eligible Māori claimants prepare, present and negotiate claims which involve or could involve Crown forest licensed lands.
The accumulated Annual Rental Fees for all Crown forest licensed lands will eventually be returned either to successful claimants or to the Crown.
Forestry Agreement 1989
Made between the Crown, and the NZMC and FOMA; plus the amending Deed made on 17 October 1989.
The Crown Forest Assets Act 1989
This Act provided for:
- Management of the Crown's forest assets
- Transfer of those assets, while protecting the claims of Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975, and
- Transfer of Crown forest licensed lands to Māori ownership and payment of compensation in the case of successful claims under that Act.
Trust Deed for Crown Forestry Rental Trust, April 1990 (amended 16 August 2011)
Key provisions included:
- The purpose and duration of the Trust
- Trust funds
- Number of Trustees
- Appointment of Trustees
- Powers, duties and liability of Trustees
- Removal of Trustees
- Payments to claimants
- Allocation and distribution of Trust funds, and
- Procedure on winding up.
Settling claims is the responsibility of claimants and the Crown. The Trust is committed to:
- Facilitating the settlement process
- Funding this process efficiently so that claimants and the Crown can settle as soon as possible, and
- Working with the Waitangi Tribunal and the Office of Treaty Settlements to expedite claims to Crown forest lands.
Trust services for claimants
To further the Trust's core purpose to assist eligible claimant groups to prepare, present and negotiate their claims, the Trust provides the following services:
- Research planning, contracting and quality control
- Relationship brokering between claimant groups and other key participants in the settlement process, and
- Information about the Treaty settlement process.
Why claimants need assistance in the settlement process
Claimants preparing for and engaging in the Treaty settlement process must commit time, effort and resources in order to advance their claims. Minimum requirements include:
- Evidence of a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi
- Evidence that claimants have suffered prejudice as a result
- A defined claimant group with identified geographical boundaries, whakapapa and recognition from neighbouring groups, and
- Leadership skills and a high level of organisation.
Working within the Trust’s Deed, the Trust seeks to provide information and services to assist qualifying claimant groups to successfully navigate this process.