Sovereignty this Century - Maori and the Common Law Constitution


  • P G McHugh



This paper is an attempt to give a panorama of constitutional life in New Zealand this century as viewed through a particularly important window, the status of the aboriginal Maori people of these islands. Questions of Maori rights and their position in the constitutional order have become burning issues in this final quarter century and represent an immense challenge for the next. This exploration is particularly appropriate as we celebrate a century of law teaching in this capital city at a University which has produced many if not most of this country's distinguished and influential public lawyers. In many respects, the history we are about to review is also a history of common law constitutionalism in this country as well to a lesser extent as similar Anglophonic jurisdictions. We are looking not just at how that part of the common law we call "public law" has dealt with a particular ethnic group. Through this aboriginal window we are looking at the changing logic and reach of public law through the past century and at the nature and character of the common law itself.


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How to Cite

McHugh, P. G. (2000). Sovereignty this Century - Maori and the Common Law Constitution. Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, 31(1), 187–214.