Subdivision of land

Subdivision of land

Subdivision of land is generally considered to be the division of an allotment into parts each with separate certificates of title, however there are other types of divisions of property.   An allotment is a parcel of land that meet certain recording and registration requirements. 5259

As a starting point no person may subdivide land unless two criteria are met:

  • First, the subdivision is expressly allowed by a national environmental standard, district plan, or resource consent.  This means that subdivision cannot be undertaken as of right.
  • Secondly, that it is show on one of three types of survey plan.    

There are however a handful of exceptions to this requirement:

  • It does not apply to partitions of Māori land under the the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 into parcels to be held by owners who are members of the same hāpu.  Other partitions (which are deemed to be subdivisions as defined by the RMA) are subject to the requirements relating to subdivision in the RMA.
  • A person is also able to subdivide land if one of the following six situations applies even if it is not expressly allowed by a national environmental standard, plan, or consent:
  1. It is a consequence of the acquisition, taking, transfer or disposal of part of an allotment under the Public Works Act 1981
  2. The establishment, change or cancellation of a reserve under the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993;
  3. A transfer or a resumption under the State Owned Services Enterprises Act 1986;
  4. The vesting in or transfer or gift of any land to the Crown or any local authority or administering body for the purposes of the Conservation Act 1987;
  5. The transfer or gift of any land to Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 or the Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust Act 1977;
  6. Any transfer, exchange or other disposition of land under the Property Law Act 2007 provisions relating to access to landlocked land.

Territorial authorities (district and city councils) are primarily responsible for managing subdivision. 5260   However, because where and the extent to which subdivision is allowed is often a matter of strategic importance is it is often subject to regional level direction in regional policy statements.

  1. See section 128 of the RMA for the full definitions of both terms. 

  2. Section 31 RMA.

Last updated at 12:45PM on August 24, 2021