In New Zealand, we can be confident of our property rights because of the strong survey and legal framework supporting land ownership and values.

The survey and legal framework supports land ownership and values. This framework includes four statutory officers who are responsible for ensuring the integrity of the system. The statutory officers are based in Toitū Te Whenua and are:


The Surveyor-General is responsible for:

  • setting standards for the cadastral and geodetic survey systems, and
  • monitoring and auditing compliance with those standards.

The national survey system ensures people can have confidence in the security and integrity of land boundaries, and in the reliability of the location of land information. The Surveyor-General:

  • administers place naming and
  • supports the setting of electoral boundaries by the Electoral Commission.

The Surveyor-General is the ex-officio Chair of the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa.


The Valuer-General is responsible for:

  • regulating the rating valuations industry
  • administering the Valuers Registration Board, which is responsible for occupational regulation of registered valuers and issues practising certificates
  • ensuring district valuation rolls, used by Territorial Authorities for rating purposes, are maintained to minimum standards (this is done by auditing and monitoring against the Rating Valuations Act, regulations and rules).

The Valuer-General is ex-officio chair of the Valuers Registration Board and sits on the council of the New Zealand Institute of Valuers.

Registrar-General of Land

The Registrar-General of Land:

  • develops standards and sets an assurance programme for the land rights registration system
  • provides technical policy advice on land registration
  • administers claims and reviews under the Land Transfer Act 2017.

New Zealand’s land title registration system is governed by the Land Transfer Act 2017 and is based on what is commonly called the Torrens system. The registration system, subject to a few exceptions, provides conclusive evidence of land ownership. The title of a registered owner is backed up by a government guarantee.

Toitū Te Whenua processes the operational aspects of the land title system, including registration of transfers, mortgages and other land title matters.

Read more about theRegistrar-General of Land and land registration in New Zealand

Commissioner of Crown Lands

The Commissioner of Crown Lands exercises rights of ownership and has statutory responsibility for Crown land held under the Land Act 1948. This includes:

  • being the landlord for Crown pastoral and other lessees
  • consenting to activities on Crown land.

The Commissioner of Crown Lands oversees the Crown pastoral tenure review process. The Commissioner of Crown Lands:

  • has responsibilities under other Acts, including Treaty settlement legislation and
  • advises the Minister for Land Information on Crown land matters.

Contact details

To contact one of the statutory officers you should talk to customer support on:

Phone 0800 665 463 or email

Last Updated: 5 April 2022