The Waitangi Tribunal is a standing commission of inquiry. It makes recommendations on claims brought by Māori relating to legislation, policies, actions or omissions of the Crown that are alleged to breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi.

Role of the Waitangi Tribunal

The role of the Tribunal is set out in section 5 of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 and includes:

  • inquiring into and making recommendations on well-founded claims
  • examining and reporting on proposed legislation, if it is referred to the Tribunal by the House of Representatives or a Minister of the Crown
  • making recommendations or determinations about certain Crown forest land, railways land, state-owned enterprise land, and land transferred to educational institutions.

Find out more about the Waitangi Tribunal’s past, present and future

In fulfilling this role, the Waitangi Tribunal has exclusive authority to determine the meaning and effect of the Treaty. It can decide on issues raised by the differences between the Māori and English texts of the Treaty.

Find out more about the texts of the Treaty

Waitangi Tribunal members

The Waitangi Tribunal has up to 20 members. The chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal is Chief Judge Wilson Isaac of the Māori Land Court. The deputy chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal is Deputy Judge Patrick Savage of the Māori Land Court.

Find out more about the Waitangi Tribunal members

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