Occupation Right

Guidelines for Applications

If you are a person of Cook Islands Maori descent you can apply for an occupation right on a section of land, which will allow you to build and/or plant.

1. Identify Land

You must first identify the land you wish to occupy, including its physical location, area size, and Registry of Title (“ROT”) information. ROT information will include the land name, section number, landowners, and any current registered occupation right, lease, or right of way.
You should discuss with other landowners the possibility of obtaining an occupation right on the land, and your intended use.
You should read the practice note for occupation rights.

2. Proposal Plan

You must engage a qualified surveyor to prepare a Proposal Plan that has the proposed area of occupation, and include any topography, existing structures, and road access.
Your surveyor should submit the Proposal Plan to the Survey Office at the Ministry of Justice for examination. Once it passes examination, your surveyor submits the Proposal Plan to ICI (for land that is in Rarotonga) or the island’s Executive Officer (for land in all other islands) who ensures delivery/service on infrastructure managers.
The stamped Proposal Plan is then submitted by your Surveyor to the Survey Office for final approval.

3. Landowner Meeting

With a current Proposal Plan, you must obtain consent from the majority of landowners, which is normally done by calling a landowner meeting (especially when there are more than 10 landowners on the ROT).
Pursuant to the May 2022 Practice Note, you must disclose all other occupation rights you hold or may reasonably expect to hold.
You must ensure there is sufficient notice for any landowner meeting, and engage a competent Chairman & Secretary to properly facilitate and take minutes of the meeting.
Meeting Minutes expire six (6) months from the day the landowner meeting was held. You must file your completed occupation right application with the High Court prior to the Meeting Minutes expiring.

4. Court Hearing

With your Meeting Minutes, Landowner Consent, and Proposal Plan, you can apply to the Land Division of the High Court for the occupation right.
Your application is reviewed by Land Division staff, however you are responsible for ensuring all information submitted is accurate.
Your application is scheduled on the Panui List for a Court hearing, which is made available to the public.
The High Court considers the application for occupation right and if appropriate will approve the application.
A draft Court Order is approved by the High Court and Survey Instructions are issued.
Any false information you provide as part of your application may lead to prosecution.

5. Survey Plan & Final Plan

With the Court issued Survey Instructions, your surveyor can now complete a Survey Plan, which can then be submitted to the Survey Office for final certification. Once certified, your surveyor can complete a Final Plan to be signed by the Survey Office and attached to the draft Court Order.
Please note that any discrepancy between the Survey Instructions and the Final Plan may cause delay.

6. Sealed Order

The Court completes final checks and then seals the Court Order. With the sealed Court Order, you have obtained an occupation right on the land and must follow any conditions given by the Court.
Normal conditions for an occupation right is that you commence building within 5 years. Presently, occupation rights are limited in duration to a maximum of 60 years.

FEES as of 18th January 2023

Filing Fee$80
Advertising (first time)$50
Checking & Sealing Order$55
NOTE: An additional $50.00 re-advertising fee will be incurred each time your application is adjourned.
Fees are VAT inclusive.