University of Auckland student Kahukiwi Piripi who describes herself as ‘not much of a public speaker’, has won the National Kaupapa Māori Moot final.
The fourth-year conjoint student (Law/Māori Studies), was named the overall winner by the six judges, including Justice Joe Williams, who was recently appointed the first Māori Supreme Court judge.
Appearing for the Crown, Ms Piripi presented legal submissions on points of law arising from the 2017 Court of Appeal decision in Ngaronoa v Attorney-General, which challenged the decision to bar all prisoners from voting in parliamentary elections.
Ms Piripi’s arguments on whether the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act 1993 should have been interpreted in accordance with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, made history when presented to the Supreme Court entirely in te reo Māori.
She also received the prize for best Māori speaker.
The 24-year-old, who plans to pursue a career in international human rights, specialising in indigenous rights, says she thinks of herself as an activist, rather than a student.
“I want to work on decolonising strategies on a global scale and towards improving how indigenous peoples are treated by the system,” she says.
The National Kaupapa Māori Moot is held as part of Te Hunga Roia Māori o Aotearoa, The Māori Law Society Hui-A-Tau, annual conference.