Indigenous Rights Impact Programme

Providing law students with clinical legal education that supports transformative change in the law that addresses Māori rights.

About the project

The Indigenous Rights Impact Programme aims to:

  • Support transformative change in law that addresses Māori rights through law reform, at the community level and in the public and international law space
  • Provide students with practical and innovative learning experiences in real-life lawyering in an area of social justice of profound importance in post-colonial New Zealand.

The impact programme is intended to have a significant practical and transformative impact on students. It will give them the opportunity to apply their research and skills to novel legal issues in law reform, litigation and policy. It is also intended as a vehicle to advance indigenous rights to achieve positive change.


Grant amount

$156,155 for work in 2019-2022. This project is jointly funded by the University of Auckland Vice Chancellor’s Strategic Development Fund, which is contributing a similar amount.


About Aotearoa New Zealand Centre for Indigenous Peoples and the Law

The Aotearoa New Zealand Centre for Indigenous Peoples and the Law was established in October 2017 and is based out of the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland. The work of the centre is diverse and focuses broadly on legal issues relating to indigenous peoples. Work includes: significant research; provision of Maori and indigenous courses; initiatives to promote student engagement in indigenous issues; provision of expert evidence in cases on Māori and indigenous rights; relationships with a number of domestic, Pacific and international organisations such as the United Nations; collaborations with other universities and leading international scholars that focus on indigenous peoples issues; and training for judges on legal developments relevant to Māori and indigenous peoples in advancing their rights legally.


Contact person

Claire Charters

Associate Professor, University of Auckland


“This programme represents a most exciting advancement for legal education in this country…It will have a positive transformative impact for students creating a new type of legal education experience that will undoubtedly influence and shape their future careers. The aspiration for this programme to enable further Māori contribution into law reform is most welcomed.”

– Professor Jacinta Ruru


“[T]he fact that there is no such programme in operation in New Zealand is, on reflection, rather surprising. There has been a need for one for some considerable time. If the programme operates to its potential, it could become one of the more important means by which the Māori community engages with law to achieve change.”

– Justice Joe Williams, Court of Appeal