The 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;
- provides funding to 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’ Māori 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 rental fees for all Crown forest licensed lands are returned to successful claimants who are the confirmed beneficiaries as a result of achieving negotiated settlements with the Crown. If, at the end of the Trust’s operational life, it retains any Trust funds (which have not been returned to successful claimants), these funds will be returned to the Crown.
Settling claims is the responsibility of claimants and 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 26 September 2018)
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.