Landowner says four-fold rents rise unexpected

Waipiro Bay file photo

The practices of Te Tumu Paeroa have been called into question after annual rents on Maori-owned East Coast land escalated by more than 400 percent this year.

An owner of sections at Waipiro Bay (who does not live there) said they had, “nothing to do with the increases whatsoever”.

“We weren’t even consulted.”

The rent review process is set out in the Maori Reserved Lands Amendment Act 1997.

Te Tumu Paeroa (TTP) communications and marketing manager Sara Passmore said they had no obligation to let interested parties know when a rent review process commenced.

“The Act determines rent is reviewed every seven years. Most landlords in New Zealand can initiate rent reviews much more frequently than that.”

TTP is an organisation that oversees collection of rent and administration of Maori-owned land around New Zealand.

"Fees charged by Te Tumu Paeroa were ridiculous"

The landowner spoke to the Herald on the basis of anonymity and said fees charged by Te Tumu Paeroa were ‘‘ridiculous”— the base annual fee of $1696 was too high, given the most they had to do was collect rent.

Ms Passmore said other services included holding meetings of owners according to the terms of the trust order, keeping annual accounts, reporting to owners, tax preparation, trust reviews, and maintaining the register of owners.

TTP fees for property management remained at 7.5 percent of annual rent, the rate set out in the Maori Trustee Regulations 2009. The property management fee covered services like rental collection, rent reviews, lease renewals and tenancy management.

The landowner said having TTP administer the land was unavoidable due to the fragmented ownership of the Maori-owned land.

“Once upon a time, we used to get a dribble of money out of it.”

But lately there had been nothing. So she approached TTP to ask what happened when rent did not cover TTP’s charges.

The next thing she knew, the rents had increased four-fold.

The huge hikes left tenants who rented the sections “shocked”. Some walked away from their leases or had to move house.

A lease-holder, or tenant, of four sections at Waipiro Bay (which they have leased for 30 years) says the annual rent went up from $1200 a year to $5200 a year.

Waipiro Bay has no services, there is not even a dairy there, and lease-holders also pay the council rates.

The leases are 99 years and can be renewed every 21 years, with a rent review every seven years.

The landowner believes the increases could have been done in increments but she does not disagree with the new annual rent.

“To be perfectly honest, they’ve been getting it for a pittance for many years.”

Ownership of Maori land around the East Coast was a “complicated jig-saw”, she said.

She has a stack of paperwork from TTP since 2006 and baulks at some of the charges.

"Dealing with TTP is very frustrating"

Dealing with TTP was “very frustrating”, said the landowner.

Maori land had to be left in perpetuity, which meant ownership continued down the family line.

The landowner has the original leases in her possession. She and her family want to on-sell it to a Maori family who really want it, but she says the process is long, convoluted and frustrating.

Originally the piece of land belonged to her great grandmother, a full Maori.

When she died, it was handed to her daughter, who then left it to her three daughters, who then each left it to ten of their children.

“We are becoming so fragmented.”

The landowner said no one in their family wanted to live on the land, as they were scattered around New Zealand and Australia.

“None of us live in Gisborne.

“But it is not easy to sell land that is under the Maori Land Court.”

The landowner is one-eighth Maori, She fears if the land is left to the next generation, it will become even more fragmented and be of no use to anyone.

“We have one family who would really like to buy the land.

“We are not going to sell it to an Irishman or anything, we just want to sell it to a Maori family who want it.”

They first have to prove the family is from the right hapu, which they are, but still there are no assurances that they can sell it.

In the meantime, the annual rent hike had put another spanner in the works on land from which they get no income.

The practices of Te Tumu Paeroa have been called into question after annual rents on Maori-owned East Coast land escalated by more than 400 percent this year.

An owner of sections at Waipiro Bay (who does not live there) said they had, “nothing to do with the increases whatsoever”.

“We weren’t even consulted.”

The rent review process is set out in the Maori Reserved Lands Amendment Act 1997.

Te Tumu Paeroa (TTP) communications and marketing manager Sara Passmore said they had no obligation to let interested parties know when a rent review process commenced.

“The Act determines rent is reviewed every seven years. Most landlords in New Zealand can initiate rent reviews much more frequently than that.”

TTP is an organisation that oversees collection of rent and administration of Maori-owned land around New Zealand.

"Fees charged by Te Tumu Paeroa were ridiculous"

The landowner spoke to the Herald on the basis of anonymity and said fees charged by Te Tumu Paeroa were ‘‘ridiculous”— the base annual fee of $1696 was too high, given the most they had to do was collect rent.

Ms Passmore said other services included holding meetings of owners according to the terms of the trust order, keeping annual accounts, reporting to owners, tax preparation, trust reviews, and maintaining the register of owners.

TTP fees for property management remained at 7.5 percent of annual rent, the rate set out in the Maori Trustee Regulations 2009. The property management fee covered services like rental collection, rent reviews, lease renewals and tenancy management.

The landowner said having TTP administer the land was unavoidable due to the fragmented ownership of the Maori-owned land.

“Once upon a time, we used to get a dribble of money out of it.”

But lately there had been nothing. So she approached TTP to ask what happened when rent did not cover TTP’s charges.

The next thing she knew, the rents had increased four-fold.

The huge hikes left tenants who rented the sections “shocked”. Some walked away from their leases or had to move house.

A lease-holder, or tenant, of four sections at Waipiro Bay (which they have leased for 30 years) says the annual rent went up from $1200 a year to $5200 a year.

Waipiro Bay has no services, there is not even a dairy there, and lease-holders also pay the council rates.

The leases are 99 years and can be renewed every 21 years, with a rent review every seven years.

The landowner believes the increases could have been done in increments but she does not disagree with the new annual rent.

“To be perfectly honest, they’ve been getting it for a pittance for many years.”

Ownership of Maori land around the East Coast was a “complicated jig-saw”, she said.

She has a stack of paperwork from TTP since 2006 and baulks at some of the charges.

"Dealing with TTP is very frustrating"

Dealing with TTP was “very frustrating”, said the landowner.

Maori land had to be left in perpetuity, which meant ownership continued down the family line.

The landowner has the original leases in her possession. She and her family want to on-sell it to a Maori family who really want it, but she says the process is long, convoluted and frustrating.

Originally the piece of land belonged to her great grandmother, a full Maori.

When she died, it was handed to her daughter, who then left it to her three daughters, who then each left it to ten of their children.

“We are becoming so fragmented.”

The landowner said no one in their family wanted to live on the land, as they were scattered around New Zealand and Australia.

“None of us live in Gisborne.

“But it is not easy to sell land that is under the Maori Land Court.”

The landowner is one-eighth Maori, She fears if the land is left to the next generation, it will become even more fragmented and be of no use to anyone.

“We have one family who would really like to buy the land.

“We are not going to sell it to an Irishman or anything, we just want to sell it to a Maori family who want it.”

They first have to prove the family is from the right hapu, which they are, but still there are no assurances that they can sell it.

In the meantime, the annual rent hike had put another spanner in the works on land from which they get no income.

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