A man whose driver's licence was simply a piece of paper with a name and "Māori" written on it has failed in his bid to challenge the jurisdiction of New Zealand's courts.

The argument - based on the defence that Māori are not subject to the law of New Zealand - was made in an effort to escape several driving infringement notices.

The nearly two-year-long case eventually required a judgment by the Supreme Court, which today dismissed Michael Raymond Main's final application to appeal.

Main had been driving a Holden Commodore in Hamilton during November 2017 when he was stopped by a police officer, who noticed the car's odd registration plates.


The constable was right - the registration number didn't exist.

The car also didn't display a current warrant of fitness or registration and the vehicle had previously been green stickered.

Main's driver's licence, meanwhile, was just a piece of paper with a name and "Māori" written on it.

He was issued with infringement notices and later found liable for his offending by a Community Magistrate.

However, Main decided this wasn't the end of the matter and appealed the decision, using his jurisdiction argument.

Despite his District Court appeal being dismissed, he carried on with his legal foray and applied for leave to appeal to the High Court.

At a hearing last October, Main represented himself before Justice Timothy Brewer as he had done before the District Court judge and Community Magistrate.

"He brought with him to my court a gentleman, whose name I did not catch but who was described as a Native Assessor present to ensure a proper record," Justice Brewer said in his judgment.


"I allowed the gentleman to be seated beside Mr Main and to act as a McKenzie Friend. It soon became apparent that Mr Main was almost entirely dependent on the verbal promptings of this gentleman for his submissions."

Justice Timothy Brewer said the law applies
Justice Timothy Brewer said the law applies "to everyone in New Zealand regardless of race". Photo / NZME

When Justice Brewer called on the Crown lawyer to respond to the jurisdiction argument, Main, at the prompting of the gentleman beside him, said the lawyer represented "a make-believe Crown".

Main said they had no standing, and, due to the absence of disclosure, any statement by her would provide grounds for a further appeal.

Justice Brewer would dismiss the application and said the law applies "to everyone in New Zealand regardless of race".

But Main wasn't done and sought a date with the Court of Appeal.

The court's deputy registrar declined to accept his application and said Justice Brewer's decision of the High Court was final.

Unperturbed, Main applied for a review of the deputy registrar's decision by a judge, who upheld the registrar's decision.

Today the Supreme Court dismissed the final application - perhaps closing the case.