Silver fern
Image: Brendan Bombaci ©


Apply for the Ngā Whenua Rāhui Fund.

This fund supports the protection of indigenous ecosystems on Māori-owned land while honouring the rights guaranteed to landowners under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.


The principles of the fund are geared towards the owners retaining tino rangatiratanga (ownership and control). In its kaupapa and role Ngā Whenua Rāhui is reaffirming the bond between tangata whenua and the land.

Ki te āwhina i te tangata whenua ki te tiaki i ngā ngahere motuhake-ā-Tāne me ērā atu wāhi motuhake i runga i ōna ake whenua.

In this section

Who can apply

Māori land authorities such as Trusts and Incorporations, organisations representative of whānau, hapū or iwi, and Māori owners of general land can apply.

Fund criteria

Before submitting your application read the full Ngā Whenua Rāhui Fund criteria, outlined in the application pack.

The criteria emphasises the cultural and spiritual, and ecological significance of the land, in particular representativeness and sustainability. Consideration is also given to landscape integrity and amenity/utility values.

Additional criteria which might be applied include:

  • urgency of threats to the area that protection could alleviate
  • the opportunity for protection may not arise again
  • costs of protection versus the value of protection
  • opportunity costs of not being able to protect other areas.

What the fund excludes

The funding application should not be for:

  • commercially-extractive oriented projects or those involving the immediate or future production of indigenous timber
  • projects which are funded for water and soil purposes by Regional Councils
  • projects which are ordinarily the responsibility of local and regional government.

How to apply

Either fill in the online application form or download and send to one of the addresses below. Make sure you address the fund criteria and have prepared all supporting documentation before submitting your application.

Download the Ngā Whenua Rāhui Fund application pack (PDF, 241K) or (Word, 240K)

Supporting documentation

You also need to include the following or your application will be declined.

For land held in individual ownership or in general land title:

  • A current copy of the Certificate of Title that shows the legal description, list of owners and Memorial schedule.
  • Copies of legal documents, if any, listed in the Memorial schedule e.g. lease agreement, mortgage, caveat or forestry rights.

For land held in trust or by a Māori incorporation:

  • A current Māori Land Court record or printout of the following:
    • Trustees or committee members
    • Legal description and Memorial schedule
    • Copies of legal restrictions, if any, listed in the Memorial schedule e.g. lease, mortgage, caveat or forestry rights.
  • Trust Order or Incorporation Constitution/Regulations
  • If your Trust Order or Constitution requires owner/shareholder approval to enter into an agreement, please provide minutes of a meeting of owners/shareholders endorsing a formal agreement with Ngā Whenua Rāhui.

Postal addresses

Ngā Whenua Rāhui 
PO Box 2538
Stortford Lodge

Ngā Whenua Rāhui 
821 Orchard Road

Application process

Applications are received and assessed by Kaitakaweanga against the fund criteria. Kaitakawaenga may meet with landowners and visit the land block to be protected as part of the assessment. Applications that are supported by the Kōmiti are recommended to the Minister of Conservation for approval and a legal kawenata is prepared and subsequently signed by the legal entity or landowner and Minister.

Assistance with applications

If you require assistance with completing your application form, contact your district Kaitakawaenga:

Tākitimu / Aotea / Te Waipounamu / Wharekauri
Karanema Bartlett
Phone: +64 6 870 9897
Mobile: +64 27 364 5638

Taitokerau / Waikato Maniapoto
Meryl Carter
Phone: +64 9 438 3667
Mobile: +64 27 247 5807

Tairawhiti / Waiariki
Willy Ngamoki
Phone: +64 7 315 1019
Mobile: +64 27 702 0095

About the fund

The Ngā Whenua Rāhui fund is a contestable Ministerial fund that provides protection for Māori landowners through the use of 25-year renewable Kawenata (covenants). It provides significant support for the landowners, including pest control programmes, monitoring, and consequent operational support.

The fund exists to protect Aotearoa's unique natural heritage and indigenous ecosystems. This includes indigenous forests, wetlands, tussock lands and coastal dune ecosystems that are considered important in their local or national context, on land owned by Māori.

Methods of protection on Māori land

Ngā Whenua Rāhui employs three types of agreements to formalise arrangements between landowners and the Minister of Conservation. The type of agreement used will depend on the protection being sought and land status. The three agreements are:

  • Ngā Whenua Rāhui Kawenata (s77A Reserves Act 1977) applies to long-term protection.
  • Agreement for the Management of Land (s29 Conservation Act 1987) is suited to smaller blocks. Requires an application to be lodged with the Māori Land Court and the proposed area set aside as a Māori Reservation pursuant to s338 of Te Ture Whenua Māori 1993.
  • Deed to enter into a Conservation Covenant (s77 Reserves Act 1977) is used for Māori-owned land that is in General Land Title.


Once the blocks are protected the agreement is noted in the Māori Land Court.


The fund does not cover the cost of rates imposed by a Territorial Local Authority (TLA) or Local Councils. However, landowners may be eligible for rates remission for land that is protected by Ngā Whenua Rāhui agreements depending on their local TLA Policy. It is the responsibility of the applicants to apply to their local TLA for rates remission.

Ngā Whenua Rāhui Kōmiti

The fund is administered by the Ngā Whenua Rāhui Kōmiti who makes recommendations to the Minister of Conservation on applications by Māori landowners to legally protect their land. Applications will by considered by the Kōmiti which meets up to four times per year.


Contact the Kaitakawaenga
Phone: 0800 112 771

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