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Māori lawyers back controversial tikanga study for law students as Parliament asked to veto the course

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The Māori Law Society Hunga Roia Māori – the Māori Law Society is defending the introduction of compulsory tikanga Māori studies for law students.

King’s Counsel Gary Judd has asked Parliament’s Regulations Review Committee to veto the new course because he says it wasn’t properly regulated, and tikanga is a system of beliefs, not law.

But Māori society president Tai Ahu says Judd’s position seems to be that only English law can be considered proper law.

Hunga Roia Māori Law Society president Tai Ahu.
Hunga Roia Māori Law Society president Tai Ahu.

“The common law continues to evolve, just like tikanga also continues to evolve – and it’s evolved in a direction that reflects Māori thinking. So it’s not something that needs to be scared about – although I recognise that for some it’s quite an intimidating prospect, but I’ve got faith in our democratic institutions and our judges to be able to cope with that,” he told Waatea.News.Com.

Judd said up until now the curriculum for lawyers has been made up of what he described as “proper law subjects”, such as criminal law and the law of torts.

Gary Judd
Gary Judd

“Tikanga is a system of beliefs, a system which indicates the way the Māori people who subscribe to tikanga consider is the right way of doing things. So it is quite different,” Judd said.

His view was supported by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.

“Tikanga is not law. It is cultural indoctrination,” Peters said.

“Law students should not be force-fed this kind of woke indoctrination from some culture warrior’s slanted version of what tikanga means.”

Ahu says Māori had their own laws, or tikanga long before Pākehā arrived in Aotearoa – and they should be a compulsory part of modern New Zealand law studies.

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