Inspiring new Indigenous legal education for our LLB degree

Collaborative research on making Māori law a firm foundational component of learning law in Aotearoa New Zealand.

About the project

New Zealand’s legal system, including our common law, increasingly recognises the value of Māori law. However, there has been no national collaborative discussion about if and how Māori law ought to be taught as part of New Zealand’s Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree.

This grant is for phase one of a longer term project to develop a proposed transformative programme of legal education that embraces the first laws of Aotearoa New Zealand: Māori law.

Phase one of this project will support Aotearoa New Zealand’s Māori law academics to have the space and time to reflect deeply on why and how Māori law could become a foundational component of the law school curriculum.

As a foundation for phase two of the project, phase one will produce a comprehensive issues paper. This will contain a literature review/bibliography of sources exploring Māori law, prefaced with a Māori-led discussion on the opportunities and challenges for embracing Māori law more holistically into the LLB degree.

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

Also see Phase 2 of this project.


Grant amount

$90,280 to fund phrase one of this research over 2019 and 2020


About the Project leads

Jacinta Ruru (Raukawa, Ngāti Ranginui) is Professor of Law at the University of Otago, Co-Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga New Zealand’s Centre of Māori Research Excellence, fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, and recipient of the New Zealand’s Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for Excellence in Tertiary Teaching. She is founding director of her innovative Te Īhaka: Building Māori Leaders in Law Programme at Otago.

Carywn Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki) is a senior lecturer at Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington and an Associate Investigator with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. He is the author of New Treaty, New Tradition – Reconciling New Zealand and Maori Law, Co-Editor of the Māori Law Review and maintains a blog, Ahi-kā-roa, on legal issues affecting Māori and other Indigenous peoples.

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

Phase one of this project will work closely with all New Zealand’s Māori law lecturers. The research team includes:

  • Associate Professor Claire Charters (University of Auckland)
  • Natalie Coates (University of Auckland)
  • Associate Professor Andrew Erueti (University of Auckland)
  • Dr Robert Joseph (University of Waikato)
  • Associate Professor Amokura Kawharu (University of Auckland)
  • Māmari Stephens (Victoria University of Wellington)
  • Associate Professor Linda Te Aho (University of Waikato)
  • Dr Fluer Te Aho (University of Auckland)
  • Dr Valmaine Toki (University of Waikato)
  • Tracey Whare (University of Auckland)


Contact person

Professor Jacinta Ruru

Professor of Law, University of Otago, and Co-Director, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga


Final Report from Stage 1

 Inspiring National Indigenous Legal Education for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Bachelor of Laws Degree Phase One: Strengthening the Ability for Māori Law to Become a Firm Foundational Component of a Legal Education in Aotearoa New Zealand


Read the University of Otago Media Release: Changes to teaching needed to integrate Māori law into legal system