Lion man Craig Busch was in court on Friday in a bid to regain control of his wildlife park and 42 big cats.
Mr Busch is alleging his mother Patricia Busch has overstepped her authority in sidelining him from the business he built up.
His lawyer, Wayne Peters, told the Whangarei High Court that Mr Busch agreed to let his mother take over in 2006 after a period of personal difficulty.
He was convicted in that year of a serious assault on his then-wife Karen.
Mrs Busch raised a loan of more than $1 million to repay Mr Busch's company and personal debt.
In exchange, she was given power of attorney, sole directorship and her son's shares in the company.
Mr Peters says it was always agreed that Mr Busch would repay the loan and take back control of the park.