This system establishes and maintains the integrity of title to estates and interests in land in New Zealand. This includes the cadastral survey and geodetic sub-systems.

The Property Rights System provides New Zealanders certainty regarding their land ownership and related rights and responsibilities. This is underpinned by the Torrens land registration system which guarantees title.

Who is involved in the property rights system?

Real estate agents and lawyers enable legally-binding sale and purchase agreements, with lawyers also ensuring applications for title changes are lawful. Lawyers also play a key compliance role in managing the risk of incorrect or fraudulent property transactions.

The Real Estate Agents Authority and the New Zealand Law Society licenses and oversees the conduct of real estate agents and lawyers respectively.

Developers and territorial authorities also play a part in the system. For example, developers apply to subdivide (and potentially re-zone) land for the purpose of on-selling and/or building, and territorial authorities consent the subdivision and approve title plans.

We play key roles in both system design and delivery.

The Registrar-General of Land is responsible for:

  • an efficient and effective system for registering dealings in land
  • managing the risk of fraud and improper dealings
  • maintaining public confidence in the land titles system
  • maintaining the integrity of the register and the right to claim compensation under the Land Transfer Act.

The Surveyor-General is responsible for:

  • maintaining the accuracy of the cadastre through setting standards and undertaking audits
  • maintaining the national geodetic and survey control systems.

People at LINZ are involved in delivering the system, such as processing applications to lodge survey data sets into Landonline; changing title ownership; and applications to lodge an interest on a title such as an easement or covenant etc.

This diagram illustrates the three phases that define a particular piece of land so that a state guaranteed title can be issued.

Last Updated: 25 February 2022