In 1974 a Commission of Inquiry into Māori Reserved Land, the Sheehan Commission, reported to parliament. The commission was largely concerned with the perpetual leasehold (LIP) dimension of Māori Reserved Land and the associated injustice imposed on Māori Land owners. One of the commissioners, Rolland O’Regan, a well-recognised expertise in both LIP and land valuation policy, had a major influence on the commission’s findings and report.
The Commission of Inquiry followed the uncovering of a significant bureaucratic tussle between The Māori Trustee and government officials from various agencies. The Māori Trustee was dutifully defending its statutory function of protecting Māori beneficial interest in the Greymouth Post Office lease for a 100-year term lease expiring in 1972. The block accommodating nearly all of the region’s central government function was surrounded by LIP lands but had itself never been converted. The Māori Trustee wanted to secure a contemporary term lease renewal for the Māori owners but the various state agencies were resisting vigorously.