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Leadership focus for Māori law conference

08 September 2016

Leadership will be a key focus at this year’s Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa/Māori Law Society (THRMoA) Hui-ā-Tau, which will be held in Queenstown from 17 to 19 November. The overarching theme of the conference is He aha to kai a te Rangatira? He kōrero, he kōrero, he kōrero, with a leadership emphasis.

“Many of our members find themselves in leadership positions these days,” says Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa Co-President Rachel Mullins.

That has a lot to do with their law degree – “and so we are providing opportunities for discussion about strategies to assist our members in leadership roles.

“Our membership includes our law students, so it is invaluable to them to get exposed to those already holding leadership positions and hear the lessons that have been learnt and the ‘tips and tricks’ for what makes a good leader.

“It’s also about giving our students and younger members role models who they can go to for guidance and advice as they embark on their legal careers. But just as importantly it is about hearing from our younger members about what they would like to see in our leaders.”

One of the Hui-ā-Tau highlights, Ms Mullins says, will be the cross-examination workshop for junior and intermediate lawyers.

This is the second time that THRMoA has run an advocacy workshop. “This year the workshop will be entirely focused on cross-examination. We are fortunate to have access to the fact scenarios from the Litigation Skills Course run by NZLS CLE Ltd which will then be amended to be Māori legal specific. The aim is to equip the attendees with cross-examination skills that will be useful in a Māori setting – such as the Waitangi Tribunal, Māori Land Court and the general courts when dealing with Māori parties.

“That will be a highlight, and hopefully something that we will run annually or at least on a regular basis,” Ms Mullins says.

“Given our hui this year is being held in the heart of Ngāi Tahu, our opening keynote address Ngāi Tahu – 18 years post settlement – what we’ve learnt will be an opportunity for us to learn about the Ngāi Tahu experience post-settlement and what has been the key to the Ngāi Tahu success story. This opening keynote address will be presented by Edward Ellison, Jane Davis and Dr Michael Stevens.”

Other than the keynote addresses, the conference offers three options in each session that attendees can choose from.

For the first time there will also be a te reo Māori keynote address. “It’s part of our wider Te Reo Māori Strategy which we have committed to with the aim of engaging with our members and external parties in te reo whenever we can,” Ms Mullins says. “We are also proposing amendments to our constitution this year which will be put to the AGM for discussion and ratification. Once finalised, we are going to have our constitution translated into te reo.

“The session on Te Ture Whenua Māori – What does the proposed legislation mean for Māori land owner and lawyers? will be one that is of interest.

“Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill – a bill to restate and reform the law relating to Māori land – is in the committee stage at the moment,” Ms Mullins said.

“That will be of particular interest to practitioners who appear in the Māori Land Court.”

The Chapman Tripp keynote address will be given by Nick Wells and Te Aopare Dewes. It is entitled Whāia te iti Kahurangi: Relevant today, provisioned for the future.

Arguing Māori issues in the superior courts will be the focus of another keynote address, delivered by Peter Andrew and Karen Feint.

The closing keynote address will be on ethics and the Māori lawyer, by La-Verne King, Paul Majurey and Liana Poutu.

THRMoA says that the society is delighted to have partnered with Westpac as their Aotea (Premier) sponsor as part of a three-year relationship agreement.

More information including registration details can be found the THRMoA website www.maorilawsociety.co.nz/hui-a-tau-2016.

The panellists at last year’s Hui-ā-Tau opening keynote – Te Tiriti o Waitangi 175 Years On – (from left) Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, Moana Jackson, Willow-Jean Prime and Peeni Henare MP.

Last updated on the 8th September 2016