Inspiring national Indigenous Legal Education for Aotearoa New Zealand’s LLB degree: Phase Two

Strengthening the ability for Māori law to become a firm foundational component of legal education in Aotearoa New Zealand.

About the project

The increasing recognition of the value of Māori law, means there is a need to carefully think through and work out, how Māori law ought to be taught as a compulsory part of the LLB degree to support the new demands and opportunities facing the legal profession to be more tikanga component. Legal education (in the tertiary context and beyond) in New Zealand will need to evolve in order to live up to the challenges that Lex Aotearoa (New Zealand’s unique jurisprudence) will demand of the future.

Phase Two of “Inspiring New Indigenous Legal Education for Aotearoa New Zealand’s LLB degree” involves the key research question of how can Māori Law be integrated into the LLB as a foundational part of the degree? The bulk of Phase Two’s research involves consultations and collaboration with the wider Māori community and legal fraternity on the opportunities and challenges for moving the LLB degree to be more responsive to a bicultural, bilingual and bijural understanding of law in Aotearoa New Zealand. These discussions will be structured according to Kaupapa Māori methodology to enable an empowered, culturally inclusive and vibrant discussion with tangata whenua, colleagues, communities and interested persons.

The Borrin Foundation funded Phase One of the national collaborative study.

The phase 2 reports have since been published. You can read them here:

See Report: Inspiring National Indigenous Legal Education for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Bachelor of Laws Degree Phase 2 Report (Part 1)

See Report: Inspiring National Indigenous Legal Education for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Bachelor of Laws Degree Phase 2 Report (Part 2)

For more information see the Indigenising the New Zealand law degree project from the University of Otago.


Grant amount

$195,668 over 18 months in 2020 – 2021


About the research team

The Lead Academics from each law school for this project are:

Jacinta Ruru (Raukawa, Ngāti Ranginui) Professor of Law at the University of Otago, Co-Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga New Zealand’s Centre of Māori Research Excellence

Carwyn Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki) Senior lecturer at Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington and an Associate Investigator with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga

Khylee Quince (Te Roroa/Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Porou) Associate Professor and Associate Head of School and Director of Māori and Pacific Advancement at AUT School of Law, Co-Director of AUT’s Centre for Indigenous Rights and Law and a Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Principal Investigator

Linda Te Aho (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Waikato-Tainui) Associate Professor of Law and Associate Dean Māori at Te Piringa Faculty of Law, and Associate Dean Māori for the Division of Arts, Law, Psychology and Social Sciences at the University of Waikato

Claire Charters (Ngati Whakaue, Tuwharetoa, Nga Puhi, Tainui) Associate Professor at the Auckland Law School at the University of Auckland

Phase Two will continue to work closely with all New Zealand’s Māori law lecturers.  The full research team includes:

  • Dr Robert Joseph (Waikato)
  • Māmari Stephens (Victoria)
  • Dr Fleur Te Aho (Auckland)
  • Dr Valmaine Toki (Waikato)
  • Tracey Whare (Auckland)
  • Mihiata Pirini (Otago)
  • Adrienne Paul (Canterbury)
  • Mylene Rakena (Waikato)
  • Maureen Malcolm (Auckland)


Contact person for this project

Professor Jacinta Ruru is the project leader

Metiria Turei (Ngāti Kahungunu and Ati Hau nui a Pāpārangi) is the research fellow at the University of Otago in the Faculty of Law.