New Zealand Law Society - Principal Solicitor - Treaty of Waitangi

Principal Solicitor - Treaty of Waitangi

  • An exciting new opportunity has become available for a Principal Solicitor with a high level of experience in Treaty of Waitangi matters to join the Legal Services Team.
  • This is a permanent, full-time, and senior role preferably based in Wellington, but other locations may be considered.
  • We may also consider a secondment from both the public and private sectors.

Toitū te marae a Tāne, toitū te marae a Tangaroa, toitū te tangata

If the land is well and the sea is well, the people will thrive

At Te Papa Atawhai, Department of Conservation (DOC) we express our spirit of service and serve Aotearoa through our purpose, Papatūānuku Thrives. Our organisational strategy, Te Kaupapa a Te Papa Atawhai, puts nature and people at the heart of everything we do. It is anchored by te reo Māori and te ao Māori, recognising that Te Tiriti o Waitangi and our whānau, hapū and iwi are central to all our mahi.

He angitūtanga | About the role

The Principal Solicitor, (Treaty of Waitangi) is a new role working closely with the policy, operations, and regulatory teams within Te Papa Atawhai.  You will provide strategic advice and support to Te Papa Atawhai in giving effect to Treaty principles -in Te Papa Atawhai’s work.

The key task is to provide high quality and strategic legal advice on complex Treaty of Waitangi issues. The aim is to ensure that DOC’s decision-making on matters that involve Treaty of Waitangi issues is robust and expressed in a cogent way. An initial area of work will be assisting in the partial reviews of the Conservation General Policy (CGP) and National Parks General Policy (NPGP) as those reviews engage directly with Treaty of Waitangi principles and their application to statutory policies.

We have recently appointed a principal solicitor to focus on strategic legal issues and how best to use legal resources. It is anticipated that the Principal Solicitor (Treaty of Waitangi) will work closely with the other principal solicitor.  

Primarily the work will have an outward facing focus and deal with complex Treaty issues. It will also involve supporting conservation by providing legal input and advice on other departmental activities to our internal customers and business groups.

Ngā pūkenga me ngā wheako | Skills and experience

As the Principal Solicitor (Treaty of Waitangi), you ideally have a background and knowledge of working in the Treaty of Waitangi space both within local or central Government or within Māori organisations.  We are looking for an in-depth understanding of issues from both an iwi, hapū and whanau, and Crown perspective.

We are also looking for a positive strong personality, who can confidently advise and influence decision makers, who can remain focused and work well under pressure.  We work collegially so participation in our team is welcomed.


  • Seven or more years’ experience
  • An in-depth understanding of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and their application in government work
  • An in-depth understanding of Section 4 of the Conservation Act and the application of the principles in the context of DOC’s work and relevant case law
  • Understanding of DOC’s business
  • Current NZ practising certificate
  • Strong communicator with the ability to explain practical legal advice in a non-technical manner
  • Ability to positively influence
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Ability to adapt as the role’s requirements evolve
  • Team player who enjoys collaboration and capable of working on their own
  • An understanding of Te Ao Māori, tikanga and whakapapa


  • Fluency or good understanding of Te Reo Māori

Mō mātou | About us

Te Papa Atawhai is committed to fostering a diverse workforce that represents the communities we serve, and to creating an inclusive workplace culture. Our Te Kaupapa behaviours of whakatīnanatia (we deliver), atawhaitia a Papatūānuku (we love nature), whakawhānaungatanga (we build relationships) and whakaauaha (we innovate) guide what we need to do for Papatūānuku to Thrive.

Ko ngā hua | What we offer

We take pride in enabling our kaimahi to bring their unique perspectives to mahi, in pursuit of our collective aspirations. Our commitment to well-being and professional development includes:

  • Flexible working options where applicable
  • Te Pukenga Atawhai – Cultural Capability Development Programme
  • Active employee networks such as Te Kāwai Aho Tapu - Māori Kaimahi Network, Rainbow Network

Tono ināianei | Apply now

Apply online now.

Submit a tailored CV and cover letter highlighting your relevant skills, experience, and alignment to our Kaupapa. 

Rā katinga | Applications close at 5pm on Monday 4 July 2022

Me he pātai anō | For further enquiries, contact Debbie Fahey, Senior Recruitment Advisor via email or call 027 286 2746.

Taupānga| Job Reference: DOC/100/2010

COVID-19 Vaccination requirement – From 4 May 2022 our Vaccination Policy, requiring all employees to be vaccinated, has been suspended but may be reinstated in the future if the COVID-19 situation changes. Positions that are identified as high risk will still have a requirement for appointees to be vaccinated. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination prior to commencing for these positions will be required and applicants will be notified during the recruitment process if this condition will apply.

Eligibility to work in New Zealand is mandatory – this includes holding a valid work visa that covers the whole period of employment.

Visit to find out more about a career with us.

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