Marine and Coastal Area Act: How to oppose a claim made to the High Court


Please note, the deadline to oppose a claim has passed. There will be an opportunity at a later date to submit on the applications received by the crown.

To oppose or support a claim, any interested party may appear and be heard on an application for a recognition order if that person has, by the due date, filed a ‘Notice of Appearance’. In due course the interested party will be called on to give evidence. (You can simply state what time periods you have had unrestricted use of that area, and for what purpose).

Interested parties can register as individuals, as family groups, as groups of like-minded people, as a business, a club or any other organization. The High Court has provided advice for those wishing to become involved in the process.

You need to register your intention with the High Court without delay, the deadline is 26th of February 2018.

Alternatively, register with organizations such as the Council for Outdoor Recreational Associations of NZ (CORANZ), and the New Zealand Centre for Political Research (NZCPR). CORANZ has registered Notices of Appearance for every claim. You can become involved by adding your name to the NZCPR ‘Countering the Claims’ register.

The time limit to register as an interested party was thought to be 20 working days from the date of the publication of the public notice for each claim made in the High Court. However, the Wellington High Court advises that the closing dates advertised on the applicants’ advertisements were indicative only, and that it is not too late to register as an interested party even if the advertised deadline has passed. The deadline is now 26th of February 2018.

To register as an interested party:

  1. Single out an application (or applications), particularly the coastal areas you know from experience have not been exclusively used and occupied by the applicant from 1840 to the present day.
  2. Identify the High Court case number (CIV number) of the claim/s.
  3. Fill in the Notice of Appearance form.
  4. Submit the Notice of Appearance form to the High Court along with the $110 fee for each claim. This can be done either at your nearest High Court, or by post to: Wellington High Court, SX11199, Wellington.
  5. Serve the Crown with a scanned copy of the Notice/s. This can be done by emailing copies to the following three recipients:
    Damen.Ward@crownlaw.govt.nz
    Geoffrey.Melvin@crownlaw.govt.nz
    MACA@crownlaw.govt.nz

A separate notice of appearance, with a $110 filing fee, needs to be filed for each individual application. The Court will not accept a Notice of Appearance that quotes multiple applications.

Submitters unable to pay the fee can apply for a fee waiver by completing a "Waiver of Fee" form. The Court will decide whether or not to waive the fee.

Notices of Appearance need to include the key identifying factor - the reference number (CIV number) of the application - or the name of the group or person who applied to the High Court to have their customary interests recognised. The High Court reference number of the claim looks like CIV-XXXX-XXX-XXX. These details are available in the public notices that were published by the applicants. Many of the advertised public notices have been collated by NZCPR.

Alternatively, to find a claim, follow these two steps:

Step 1.

Identify the applicants by looking at the Crown Law ‘Maps of High Court Application Areas’, which indicate the location of the claims registered with the Court. This information has not been published on any official website for public use, but has kindly been made available to the public by NZCPR.

To find out who is claiming a specific area of the coast, locate the claim’s reference number on the map, found in Annexure A, which shows the areas each claim covers, accompanied by a number which identifies the individual claims. The identifying numbers match up with the unique CIV numbers, which can be found in Annexure B. (N.B. not all claims are shown on the map - for instance the two claiming the entire marine and coastal area. These can be found on the table at the end of Annexure B).

Step 2.

Once you have found the CIV number related to the area of interest, you can request a copy of the application that you wish to object to from the High Court at Wellington. The Wellington High Court email address is: WellingtonHC@justice.govt.nz

The phone number is (04) 914 3649 or (04) 914 3600.

Alternatively, access to copies of the applications are available on the NZCPR website on the Countering Coastal Claims page .

Only the 202 applications for recognition of customary interests via the High Court pathway are featured on the maps - the other 380 claims registered for direct engagement with the Crown are not included.

You will need to complete a separate notice of appearance, and pay a $110 filing fee for each individual application you are interested in. The Court will not accept a notice of appearance that quotes multiple applications. Submitters unable to pay the fee can apply for a fee waiver by completing a "Waiver of Fee" form. The Court will decide whether or not to waive the fee.