The New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui True o Atoearoa is delighted with the announcement that taonga are able to be worn in Court instead of neckties.
Earlier today the Chief Justice released interim guidance on the wearing of culturally significant decorative taonga as part of business attire for counsel appearing in all proceedings in all courts. This will include court staff.
“This is a significant step for Aotearoa New Zealand and one we have been seeking. It is one of many steps we must take towards having a justice system which reflects us as a country,” says Law Society President Tiana Epati.
“In March I wrote to the Chief District Court Judge following the change to rules in Parliament.
"A Gisborne lawyer had recently sought leave to wear his taonga to Court and I highlighted his story on LinkedIn.
“This received an overwhelmingly positive reaction. There was feedback from hundreds of lawyers supporting the wearing of taonga in Court. Some of the comments referred to the need to make court an inclusive place, and that allowing the wearing of taonga was a step towards that goal.
“One lawyer told me he was looking forward to the day when permission didn’t have to be sought, and many others expressed their desire to wear taonga in Court."
Today’s announcement is an important move towards creating a more inclusive environment in our Courts to better reflect our bi-cultural nation.
Guidance on wearing taonga in Court can be found on the Courts of New Zealand website.