The Court was established to serve as an independent forum to ascertain ownership of Maori land and issue a legal title to it. The issued titles were intended to provide security of tenure for economic development and enable legally documented sales, lease and mortgages to European settlers. The Court's responsibilities evolved in the twentieth century, focusing on maintenance of records of title and ownership information about Maori land. It promoted management of Maori land by its owners and assisted the preservation of taonga Maori.
- Maori Affairs Act 1953
- Maori Purposes Act 1947
- Native Land Act 1931
- Native Land Court Act 1894
- Te Ture Whenua Maori/Maori Land Act 1993