Guidelines for Applications
Whether you are a landowner or not, you may obtain a lease on a section of land in the Cook
Islands through this application process (except for Pukapuka, Mitiaro & Mangaia).
1. Identify Land
You must first identify the land you wish to lease, 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 landowners the possibility of obtaining a lease on the land, and your intended use.
You should consider engaging a competent lawyer to process your lease application, particularly in preparing the deed of lease.
2. Proposal Plan
You must engage a qualified surveyor to prepare a Proposal Plan that has the proposed area of lease, 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 (MOAO)
With a current Proposal Plan, you must obtain consent from the landowners, which is normally done through a Meeting of Assembled Owners (MOAO) for leases.
An MOAO application must include a draft deed of lease, Proposal Plan, Notice & Proxy, and a current ROT. If an Occupation Right is being cancelled as part of the proposed lease, you also need to include a copy of the sealed order of the Occupation Right and a signed consent form of the Occupation Right owner.
Upon submitting a completed MOAO application and paying the application and chairing fees, the Ministry of Justice will schedule an MOAO to be held.
You must ensure there is sufficient notice to the landowners that need to attend the MOAO. The Court will provide minutes of any MOAO held.
Meeting minutes expire twelve (12) months from the day the MOAO was held. LAT approval and Land Court confirmation must be obtained before the minutes expire.
4. Survey Plan & Final Plan
With consent from the landowners during an MOAO, 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 your lease application.
5. Leases Approval Tribunal (LAT)
With your Meeting Minutes, Landowner Consent (approved MOAO resolutions), and Final Plan, you will need to submit your completed lease application to the LAT for approval. The LAT hearings are normally held once a month. A list of applications to be heard by the LAT may be published on the Ministry of Justice website.
You are responsible for ensuring all information submitted as part of your application is accurate.
6. Court Hearing for Confirmation
If there are no adjustments to your Final Plan or draft deed of lease, and the LAT has given approval, your lease application can be scheduled on the Panui List for a Court hearing for confirmation. The Panui List is made available to the public.
The High Court considers the lease application and if appropriate will approve the application.
A draft Court Order of confirmation is then approved by the High Court.
Any false information you provide as part of your application may lead to prosecution.
7. Deed of Lease
The Court completes final checks and the Deed of Lease is signed. An original copy of the Deed must be registered with the Court. You have now obtained a lease on the land and must follow any conditions given by the Court. Leases are limited in duration to a maximum of 60 years.
Fees as of the 18th January 2023
|Chairing & Recording||$50|
|Advertising (first time)||$50|
|Checking & Sealing Order||$55|
Fees are VAT inclusive.