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Research in Land Tenure and Cadastral Studies at the School of Surveying covers the fields of New Zealand and international land tenure, land registration issues, aboriginal title, public-private property rights, boundary issues and land law.

Māori land

Surveyors have responsibilities to assist Māori in promoting the retention and facilitating the better utilisation of Māori land. Māori land has suffered from many problems, including poor registration records, multiple owners, difficulties gaining economic return, maintaining ancestral connections, and accessing the land. We investigate solutions to these problems.


Coastal property

Coastal property is vulnerable to coastal processes (especially erosion) which is exacerbated by climate change (sea-level rise and storm events). The balance between the rights of property owners to protect their land, the responsibilities of government to protect the coastal environment, the rights of public access to the coast, and the protection of natural character, is fiercely contested.


Communal land in transition

Securing rights to land that is neither formally registered nor held under pure custom is an issue of global significance, affecting shelter and the economic well-being of vulnerable groups. This discipline contributes to a general quest for understanding communal land in transition. It includes hybrid land tenure solutions through the use of generic registers, real estate market issues, and how different interventions of formal tenure may impact differently on communal tenure regimes.


Cadastral reform

Cadastres today face a range of variables and challenges today. This research area looks at land right registration issues in both developed and developing country contexts.


River boundaries

Rivers, Lakes and waterways often serve as property boundaries, but as natural boundaries they are not so easy to precisely locate, and furthermore, they are subject to natural shifts. It is important to know how to define such boundaries and what happens to a boundary when the waterway and/or its banks move. Several significant court cases inform decision making.

Public-private property rights

While New Zealand law provides strong protection for private property rights, there is also a strong public expectation of widespread public rights, including provisions for access to land, environmental protection of land, extension of the conservation estate, participation in land use decisions, and authority for local planning and land regulation. The balance between private and public is keenly contested and raises numerous research possibilities.


People involved

Mick Strack

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