Maori Representation Issues and the Courts


  • Carrie Wainwright



There are difficulties experienced at all levels of Māori society in agreeing upon a person or entity that will represent the point of view of the collective. This article discusses issues surrounding Māori representation in legal contexts, particularly focusing on how the problem arises in various guises for judicial determination and how the judicial role may be discharged more constructively in the future. From a social viewpoint, Māori society is made up of several kin-group and other collectives who are under pressure to make many important collective decisions. The historical context of New Zealand has also led to a lack of economic opportunity and diminution of Māori land, resulting in the worth of Māori culture being reflected scarcely. There are also representation issues before the court system, where traditional litigation is adversarial in nature, failing to support Māori relationships. The author provides a solution in the form of mediation, with some faith shown in the Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill providing mediation as an optional dispute resolution mechanism. It is concluded that better relationships and robust representation structures will make a difference for Māori society.


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How to Cite

Wainwright, C. (2002). Maori Representation Issues and the Courts. Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, 33(3 and 4), 603–620. and 4.5807