Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

The Maori freehold land and general land divideMāori Freehold Land (MFL) is situated in a wider global debate about communal land that is in transition to more individualised forms of tenure. For many Ngai Tahu Māori, general land and the State now cater for shelter, sustenance and other functions formerly supported by MFL, while remaining MFL now handles disproportionately more of the cultural functions and interpersonal ties that are generally divorced from “western” tenure forms. This research questions whether MFL should be managed with an emphasis on fulfilling those functions not met by formal, individualised tenure, and if so, how this should best be achieved in practice.


  • Summer Scholarship, Division of Science, James Berghan: $3000
  • New Zealand Institute of Surveyors Māori land research bursary, James Berghan: $2000
  • New Zealand Institute of Surveyors fieldwork funding Mick Strack and David Goodwin, $1320; PBRF funding $1000

Selected publications and outcomes

Goodwin, D.P. (2011) Splitting the atom of communal land tenure, with specific reference to Māori Freehold Land, New Zealand Surveyor. (301).

Goodwin, D. P. (2005). "Dealing with Priceless Treasure." New Zealand Surveyor (295): 9-17.

Goodwin, D.P. (2011) The balance between productive and cultural use of Māori Freehold Land (MFL) Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors' Māori land hui, 14th – 15th February, 2011, Rotorua.

Goodwin, D.P. (2010). The story of the Mandesho people. Survey Quarterly (62): June 2010. The New Zealand Institute of Surveyors: 12-15.

Goodwin, D.P. (2011) Separating the strands of communal land holding Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CSAFE) seminar series. 16th June, 2011, University of Otago.

People involved

David Goodwin
Mick Strack

Back to top