Article & Report – Uni Otago (NZ) – Indigensing the New Zealand law degree

Inspiring National Indigenous Legal Education for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Bachelor of Laws Degree is the first report from a nationwide collaboration research project with M?ori legal academics from the six University law schools.

Professor Ruru korowai image


In this paper we have collated our knowledge of a sample of written sources of M?ori law and prefaced our review with a researched discussion of why we are calling for Aotearoa New Zealand law students to be trained to practise in a bijural, bicultural and bilingual legal system.

There is increasing demand from the judiciary for advice on M?ori law, especially since the Supreme Court accepted in 2012 that “M?ori custom according to tikanga is therefore part of the values of the New Zealand common law” (Takamore v Clarke).[]:1: Other parts of the legal profession are recognising this need. Significant professional training is being done, for example, to upskill the judiciary on M?ori law including time spent on marae. Law firms are engaging in M?ori law professional development for their legal staff on M?ori law understandings beyond treaty settlement and land law issues due to the needs of their clients.

We can ensure all Aotearoa New Zealand law graduates are well prepared for these new expectations in society and within the practice of law.

Report download

Inspiring National Indigenous Legal Education for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Bachelor of Laws Degree (PDF)


Phase 2 of the project

Phase 2 involves a 13 month wide consultation with M?ori, law schools, academics, tauira and the legal profession on how this shift might be done including the challenges and the opportunities of such a change to legal education. This consultation will be completed by the end of 2021.

Research team

Jacinta Ruru

(Raukawa, Ng?ti Ranginui)

Professor of Law at the University of Otago, Co-Director of Ng? Pae o te M?ramatanga New Zealand’s Centre of M?ori Research Excellence, fellow of the Royal Society Te Ap?rangi, and recipient of the New Zealand’s Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for Excellence in Tertiary Teaching.

Metiria Turei

(Ng?ti Kahungunu and Ati Hau nui a P?p?rangi)

Research Fellow at the University of Otago in the Faculty of Law.

Carwyn Jones

(Ng?ti Kahungunu and Te Aitanga-a-M?haki)

Senior Lecturer at Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington and an Associate Investigator with Ng? Pae o te M?ramatanga.

Khylee Quince

(Te Roroa / Ng?puhi and Ng?ti Porou)

Associate Professor and Associate Head of School and Director of M?ori and Pacific Advancement at AUT School of Law, Co-Director of AUT’s Centre for Indigenous Rights and Law and a Ng? Pae o te M?ramatanga Principal Investigator.

Rebekah Bright

(Rongowhakaata, Ng?ti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga)

Research Counsel, Te Kooti Whenua M?ori.


Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation, $90,280 over 2019 and 2020.



Major Sponsors

Sponsor – Emond Publishing

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