Right of First Refusal

The Right of First Refusal is an important feature of the Waitangi Tribunal settlement between the Crown and Ngāi Tahu.

Right of First Refusal (RFR) is an economic instrument designed to rebuild the Ngāi Tahu economic base by providing the tribe with first opportunity to purchase surplus Crown land within the claim area (which is the majority of the South Island). It was part of the consideration agreed during the settlement negotiation.

The principle of the Right of First Refusal is that all Crown land in the Ngāi Tahu claim area must, if surplus to Crown requirements, be offered in the first instance to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. The Crown sets the price, terms and conditions of the offer.

Under the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act the Crown is required to place notations/memorials recording the RFR right on all relevant land. Relevant land is defined as land in the Ngāi Tahu claim area owned by the Crown at the commencement of the Act.

Once offered the opportunity to purchase land under the RFR, Ngāi Tahu has the opportunity to assess, within a one month timeframe, the potential benefits of the purchase against the Tribe’s economic and social objectives.

Land made available under the RFR is generally considered by Ngāi Tahu Property for potential development, investment or trading.

Purchases made by Ngāi Tahu Property under the Right of First Refusal provisions include the former New Zealand Rail Workshops site in Addington - developed into the Tower Junction retail shopping complex; land that was subsequently developed into residential communities such as Tumara Park, Linden Grove, Waikākāriki and Heathridge, and land that was purchased and developed for a number of commercial ventures.

If Ngāi Tahu declines to purchase the land the Crown may place the property on the open market. There is a 9 month window of opportunity during which the Crown can sell the property on terms and conditions that are not more favourable than those offered to Ngāi Tahu.

If at the end of the 9 month period the property remains unsold or if the Crown realises that the benchmark terms offered to Ngāi Tahu are not able to be achieved in the open market then a reoffer process takes place.

A reoffer effectively means that a new offer is issued on price, terms and conditions re-established by the Crown and the process of Ngāi Tahu review begins again.

There are a number of exceptions for the Crown’s requirement to offer land to Ngāi Tahu for purchase, including Crown-to-Crown transfer and certain provisions under the Public Works Act.

Register your interest for surplus crown land subject to Ngāi Tahu’s Right of First Refusal opportunity by sending your details to Brett Ellison, General Manager, Business Development.

Brett Ellison
General Manager, Business Development
Ngāi Tahu Property 
Email brett.ellison@ngaitahu.iwi.nz