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Community Law Centres of Aotearoa (CLCA) Established

Media Release

23 June 2011

For immediate release <

Community Law Centres of Aotearoa (CLCA)Established

All of New Zealand’s 26 Community Law Centres are proud to announce that they have recently voted on the formation of a new national body: Community Law Centres of Aotearoa (CLCA). Community Law Centres have for many years worked together, but the incorporation of a national body gives law centres a stronger collective capability to secure funding and to carry out and facilitate work for the benefit of all CLCs and the wider community. A funded national body has been on the agenda for Community Law Centres for many years. For a long time we have wanted a national body that can liaise with government and other major partners, as well as enabling CLCs to work collaboratively to build a stronger and more effective community legal sector. The recent funding crises for CLCs have only made the need for a peak body more apparent – our ability to negotiate effectively with government has been crucial to our very survival.

This is a major announcement and is the culmination of many months of hard work by Community Law Centres.

CLCA was established on 3 June 2011, in Bell Gully’s Wellington Offices. Elected to the first CLCA board are the Right Honourable Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie, Jenny Hughey, Robyn Rauna, Jennifer Braithwaite, John Chadwick, Cameron Madgwick and John Worden (see biographies below). This authoritative board will provide a strong national voice for Community Law Centres around New Zealand.

CLCA has secured seed funding from the Legal Services Agency for two years, allowing it to establish itself properly and begin to form partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders, including possible funders, public and private service providers and community organisations.

The objects of CLCA are:

• To represent the interests of member CLCs

• To provide information, networking, advocacy, communication, support and liaison services to members

• To assist co-ordination between member CLCs

• To facilitate and support members to maintain high quality services

• To seek resources for members

• To represent members as a collective to negotiate funding arrangements with the government

• To affirm and adhere to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

This announcement comes just as the Legal Services Agency is disestablished and being absorbed into the Ministry of Justice. Cameron Madgwick, CLCA Chair, says, “This is a challenging time to be working in the voluntary sector. Having such a national body will allow CLCs to focus more intensely on providing free legal services to their local communities”. CLCA is founded on the premise that, working together through this new structure, CLCs will be able to leverage more support and have a greater influence throughout all levels of the community.

Madgwick also acknowledged several people, without whom CLCA might never have eventuated: “Thanks to Sir John Hansen and Stuart White of the Legal Services Agency for all their support setting up Community Law Centres o Aotearoa, and to Bell Gully, for their 600 hours of pro bono work. Their assistance has been invaluable”.

Biographies of CLCA Board Members

Jennifer Braithwaite (Youthlaw) is Chair of YouthLaw Tino Rangatiratanga Taitamariki (a CLC for children and young people throughout Aotearoa). Jennifer has more than 10 years’ legal experience both in New Zealand and overseas in a range of areas including general litigation, child protection, public law, Treaty of Waitangi claims and governance of Māori entities.

John Te Manihera Chadwick (Rotorua CLC) has 40 years’ experience as a lawyer in tribunals, criminal, civil and family, up to Court of Appeal level, both private and on legal aid. He has been a principal and founding partner in several law firms in Rotorua and is about to commence practice as a Barrister sole.

Jenny Hughey has spent over 30 years working towards social justice, including in the unions, the Human Rights Commission, in prison advocacy and in community organisations. She is currently Chair of mediation services at a free community mediation provider.

Currently practising in-house, Cameron Madgwick (Wellington CLC) has previously practised in a large national law firm and in several jurisdictions. Cameron has volunteered at the Wellington Community Law Centre for more than 15 years and is currently its Chair. Prior to his election to the CLCA board, he led the re-negotiation of the funding contract for CLCs.

Robyn Rauna operates her own consultancy business. Robyn recently finished her role as manager of Tairawhiti CLC, and prior to managing, Robyn chaired its board for eight years. Her previous roles include Housing New Zealand’s Rural Housing Manager for the East Coast/Eastern Bay of Plenty region and working on various projects at Te Puni Kokiri. She is currently a board member of Tairawhiti District Health Board and a Trustee for Eastern & Central Community Trust. Robyn is also involved in a range of Iwi and marae activities.

Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie, KNZM, was Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court from 1980-98, Chair of the Waitangi Tribunal from 1980-2004 and a Law Commissioner. Sir Eddie was appointed to the High Court in 1998 and retired in 2004, at which point he was the longest-serving member of the New Zealand judiciary. Sir Eddie was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009.

John Worden (Hawkes Bay CLC) has extensive management experience, through 36 years’ service with the RNZAF, his last position being Deputy Chief of Air Force. Recently he has been a member of the management team at the Legal Services Agency (LSA), with responsibility for funding CLCs and contracting with legal aid lawyers. He then completed three significant organisational change projects, two for the LSA and one for the NZ Defence Force.

ENDS

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