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Te Hunga Rōia Māori (Māori Law Society) Conference Kicks Off, Focusing On ‘mana-based Change’

Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa (the Māori Law Society) begins its annual conference in Christchurch today. The theme of the conference this year is ‘Māori lawyers as agents of mana-based change’ and will be attended by 350 participants, including Māori lawyers, judges, legal academics and law students.

Over the course of the three day conference, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the latest legal developments in fields such as employment law, resource management law, criminal law, and the rights of Indigenous peoples. Amongst a full programme of speakers, attendees will hear from Chief District Court Judge Heemi Taumaunu, Law Commission President, Amokura Kawharu, members of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and groundbreaking Māori legal scholars, Ani Mikaere and Moana Jackson (who gifted this year’s conference theme).

The conference will also include the annual National Kaupapa Māori Student Moot Competition and, for the first time this year, the National Kaupapa Māori Student Negotiation Competition.

The conference is taking place at the University of Canterbury from 1-3 July.

“We’re very grateful for the support from the University of Canterbury, particularly through the School of Law, which has enabled us to host our 2021 conference here in Ōtautahi” said Tumuaki Wahine, Jamie-Lee Tuuta. “As an alumna of this law school, I am thrilled to be able to bring Te Hunga Rōia Māori here and for students and lecturers to be able to engage with the activities of Te Hunga Rōia. It is only the second time the hui has been held here in our history. The last hui in Ōtautahi was held 16 years ago.”

Tumuaki Tāne, Dr Carwyn Jones, says he is excited to hear how attendees explore issues relating to the theme of ‘Māori lawyers as agents of mana-based change’. “We’re at a moment of significant change and potential within the law, particularly how law engages with Te Ao Māori. We can see this in developments such as the Te Ao Marama model, led by Chief Judge Taumaunu and being rolled out in the District Court. And at this conference our members will be challenged by some of our leading critical thinkers, to reflect on how we can work to deliver mana-based change” said Jones.


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