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How should the law accommodate tikanga Māori in agreements that determine how a couple divide their property?

When a relationship ends, people need not divide property according to the Property (Relationship) Act 1976. Instead, the law allows partners to make their own agreement about how they divide their property.

We look at these agreements in greater detail here.

For the agreement to be valid, the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 requires the partners to follow a certain procedure. Each partner must get legal advice. The agreement must be in writing and signed by each partner. When each partner signs, the lawyer who gave advice must witness and certify the agreement.

Some Māori may wish to use an agreement to arrange their property matters according to tikanga Māori. We do not know how many Māori make such agreements.

If Māori make agreements about arranging their property according to tikanga Māori, what process should they follow? It might make more sense if a couple entered the agreement through a tikanga Māori process rather than the process set out in the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.

What do you think?

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