Bell Gully has a long and proud history of assisting iwi and Māori organisations to achieve their legal and commercial goals.

  • Summary
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​​​​​​​​​​We advised Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu on its Treaty settlement with the Crown in the 1990s which was, and will remain, one of the most significant and ground breaking Treaty settlements between the Crown and iwi. Since then, we have continued to advise iwi and Māori organisations on a diverse range of legal issues reflecting the depth and breadth of our experience as a firm.

Our work for iwi and Māori organisations has changed and developed over time given that many iwi have reached the post-settlement stage. We work together, with iwi, to protect their assets and create a strong economic base for future generations. While we continue to act for iwi settling with the Crown and advise on the inevitable challenges to those settlements, we also advise on settlement protection and other post settlement or "implementation" issues. This includes advising on governance, investment structures, partnerships and joint ventures both between various iwi (such as specific iwi/iwi joint ventures) and between iwi and other private and public sector partners.

We understand that all iwi and Māori organisations are not the same and have their own aspirations and drivers. We have a reputation for listening to what our clients want to achieve and then assisting them to achieve those goals.

We also work with a number of non-Māori clients to assist them in their relationships with iwi and Māori organisations, in order to achieve mutual goals.​

Bell Gully was named among the top New Zealand law firms for Māori Law, Māori Groups and​ Te Tiriti o Waitangi-related matters in Doyles Guide 2020. Partners Rachael Brown and David Chisnall were both recognised as recommended lawyers in the guide, identified by clients and peers for their expertise and abilities in these areas.​

View a panel discussion hosted by Bell Gully on intergenerational investment.

Long-term investors Ngāi Tahu, Tainui and the New Zealand Super Fund discuss how intergenerational investment might impact New Zealand in the years ahead.​​​​

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu
Advising Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu on the issues relating to the relativity mechanism contained in the Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement.

Acting for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu on an application under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011. The judgment delivered by the High Court in December 2016 was the first substantive judgment relating to this Act. Also acting for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu on its own application under the Act.​ 

Advising Ngāi Tahu Property on all aspects of the operation of the right of first refusal held by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu under the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998. 

Advising Ngāi Tahu Property on a number of major property and infrastructure development projects and joint ventures.

Advised Ngāi Tahu Property on its "quasi-PPP" joint venture with Christchurch City Council for the NZ$135 million Christchurch Civic Building redevelopment project.

Acted for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu in Court cases including on the jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal, the interpretation of mining legislation and the ownership of pounamu, the Tītī Islands and the establishment of a taiapure (local fishery).

Tainui Group Holdings
Advising Tainui on its proposed inland port and its commercial and industrial development at Ruakura. This has involved strategic input and establishing the development in the regional policy instruments and then assisting Tainui with its Board of Inquiry and subsequent district plan processes.   

Advised Tainui on its investments in Waikato Milking Systems and Go Bus, in each case in joint venture with Ngāi Tahu.

Advised the joint venture (Auckland International Airport Limited, Accor Hospitality and Tainui Group Holdings) on the arrangements for the first hotel to be developed on Auckland International Airport land. This included negotiating a ground lease, management agreement and construction contract, and finalising financing arrangements.

Advised Tainui on the development, construction, leasing and resource management aspects of Hamilton's largest retail outlet The Base retail centre in Te Rapa, Hamilton which was constructed on a former air force base.

Settlement challenges
Acted for Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua in the Waitangi Tribunal and the High Court in challenges to its settlement with the Crown. 

Acted for the Trustees of Nga Kaihautu o Te Arawa Executive Council in a High Court challenge to the negotiation of, and mandate for, its Treaty settlement.

Central North Island geothermal projects
Advised Tauhara North No.2 Trust as the owner of the Rotokawa geothermal field and development right holder of the Ngatamariki geothermal field in the Central North Island on the commercialisation of these fields. This included the joint venture for the construction of the 140MW Nga Awa Purua geothermal power station and acting for Tauhara North No.2 Trust on the financing arrangements entered into by the Trust to fund its 35% participating interest in the Nga Awa Purua geothermal power station​.

Advised Okere 1B 3C 3 and Adjoining Blocks Incorporated and Ruahine & Kuharua Incorporated on the Te ia a Tutea geothermal development agreement signed with Mighty River Power in 2011, on the potential development of the Taheke geothermal resource in the central North Island.

Advising Rotama No1, Rotoiti 15 and Tautara Mat​​awhaura on the potential development of the Tuara Matata geothermal resource in the Central North Island.

Aotearoa Fisheries Limited
Advising Aotearoa Fisheries on significant commercial and strategic matters, including the acquisitions of the processing and quota assets of Anton's Seafoods, the OceaNZ Blue paua farm operation at Bream Bay and processing capacity on the Chatham Islands.

Port Marlborough
Advised Port Marlborough on its strategic relationship agreements with Te Atiawa, on Waikawa Bay and reclamations, and the wider relationship aspirations of the parties.

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  • Rachael Brown

    Partner Wellington
  • Haydn Wong

    Partner Auckland
  • David Chisnall

    Partner Wellington