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Whiu, Leah --- "Waikato Law School: An experiment in bicultural legal education. Part 2: The reality of being Maori at Waikato Law School" [2005] NZYbkNZJur 20; (2005) 8.2 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence 196

Last Updated: 19 April 2015

196 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence Special Issue - Te Purenga Vol 8.2


Leah Whiu*


In this part I will explore more directly, through the voices of Maori students and staff, the reality of being Maori at Waikato Law School.83 This material is based on research that I conducted which focussed on current Maori law students' experiences of the Law School's attempts to implement the founding bicultural objective.84 In particular, it presents an analysis of:

This part presents some of the stories told by the Maori law students that I interviewed, and ultimately concludes with a discussion of strategies for action.

Leah Whiu, Ngatihine, Ngapuhi, Lecturer, School of Law, University of Waikato, research interests include the intersection of gender, race and sexuality, legal theory and practice, with a particular focus on Aotearoa, Treaty of Waitangi issues, bicultural legal education, human rights and Maori women and the law.

  1. This phrase is borrowed from the title of an LLM thesis completed by Makere Papuni-Ball, who was one of the foundation Maori students. In her thesis: "The Realities of Maori at Law School" (unpublished Masters Thesis, 1996), Makere examined the first Waikato Maori Law Graduates' experiences at law school and their employment choices.
  2. This part has been taken from my unpublished LLM paper entitled "Bicultural Legal Education - A Tool of Liberation or Merely Education the Oppressor?"

2005 Waikato Law School: An Experiment in Bicultural Legal Education 197


Why Waikato Law School?

With the increasing numbers of Maori students85 applying to and graduating from the Law School with Bachelors, Masters and soon Doctoral degrees, the Law School has become the law school of choice for many Maori students.86 In considering why the first group of Maori students selected Waikato Law School, Makere Papuni concludes that "[w]e wanted change and we saw the School as an institution which could deliver the power to make that change".87

The significance of the Law School's bicultural objective is also evident in the comments made by the students I interviewed. Describing her reason for choosing Waikato Law School, one student comments:

... from looking at the Law School from the outside - it was somewhere where women's issues were a priority, somewhere where Maori issues were important ... and [I] realised that at the other Law Schools I wouldn't have that opportunity and ... I didn't think that I would be able to go to one of those sorts of schools, and actually put myself through a standard law degree, because that Maori side wouldn't be there and I didn't want to go somewhere where I would have to fight for things that I just knew somewhere else I wouldn't have to fight for.

And another recalls reading some promotional material about the Law School, where:

... it had said that there was this Maori component to the Law School and that there was a lot of support here, there was no question - I would never have done law anywhere else ... I wouldn't have considered any other school. And even today I would never consider any other Law School although I have had quite an experience in this Law School.

85 In 1996, 20% of the student body were Maori, and in 2005 it is now 25%.

  1. This assertion is supported by research conducted by Makere Papuni-Ball, supra n 83; and Davis, 0 "Being Maori and Being at Law School" (Unpublished Paper, University of Waikato, 1992).

87 Supra n 83 at 30.
198 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence Special Issue - Te Purenga Vol 8.2

The Law School's commitment to provide a bicultural legal education and its reputation as a law school that prioritised Maori issues were clearly significant factors in these students decision to go to Waikato Law School. What the students understood such a commitment to entail is developed further in the next section.

What is biculturalism?

In 1993 the foundation Dean commented that:

... the objectives of the Law School it may be argued are not entirely clear either because they are expressed in the vague language of biculturalism which can mean many different things to different people.88

However, the research participants' views of what biculturalism meant were extremely clear, unambiguous and unequivocal. One woman describes her understanding of biculturalism as meaning:

... people acknowledging both Pakeha and Maori ... [it] means going further than the lip service that is paid to Maori things and actually working at making something which really reflects both cultures. I think that New Zealand as a whole has got a very limited ability to take in Maori things and biculturalism represents something that would be 50/50, say percentage-wise.

Another participant said that biculturalism was:

... straight forward really because I base my understanding of it on what my Kaumatua have told me, and that is, it is an interpretation of the Treaty and how in the Treaty there is only two peoples, us and the Crown. Anyone who comes after the Treaty forms part of the tauiwi ... you can be Asian, Indian, Japanese, Chinese - you are still tauiwi which makes you part of the Crown. ... It means an acknowledgment of the sovereignty of Maori to all the things in the Treaty.

According to these participants, biculturalism denotes a model where both Pakeha (or tauiwi) and Maori are valued equally and this is reflected throughout all aspects of our society, structures, government, policies and conceptualisation of sovereignty. It also requires Pakeha (or tauiwi) and Maori to work together to develop the necessary processes,

88 Supra n 65 at 23.
2005 Waikato Law School: An Experiment in Bicultural Legal Education 199

structures and outcomes that will truly reflect and value both cultures equally, with neither being subservient to, or accommodated by, the other.

The Law Schools performance of the bicultural objective

In describing his overview of the Law School's performance of the bicultural objective, one participant commented that:

... I am biased against the Law School because it teaches what has flowed from the Imperial law into New Zealand law and been adapted here, but it has been reshaped so that it's suitable to New Zealand conditions, but more suitable to those that settled this country and very much in their favour, and very much to the detriment of Maori ... and it is [the settler] law which is being taught at this school and very little recognition is given to Maori customary law or indigenous rights ... I am always suspicious of anything the Pakeha does for me in my favour, because inevitably it never ever works that way. It works against me. So I am always suspicious, I am suspicious about what goes on here at this Law School ...

However, at the conclusion of his interview, he also suggested that:

... this law School would probably earn itself a favourable reputation if it became the first law school to really be bicultural ... I think that's what draws a lot of students here ... I don't know about the other law schools, but I think Waikato has something distinct and unique ...

One of the participants reveals the inappropriate self-justificatory comparison with other law schools, that usually underpins any defence of the Law School's performance of the bicultural objective. She noted that:

... if you've got 10% Maori content or acknowledgment of Maori things, they think that's being bicultural - I think people need to lift their standards a bit ... I think that's the difference between what I see as biculturalism and what this Law School sees as biculturalism, that is, they think their input of 5, 10, 15% of something is enough because it's more than what everyone else is doing. ... this Law School shouldn't compare its Maori content and Maori input to the other Law Schools. They should set a new standard. If you're going to say that you're bicultural then you need to mean it. The excuse I keep hearing - is that this Law School is a better law school than anywhere else. But that's not even the point. The point is it's not good enough really. The Law School has to really keep striving to make it better and safer for me.
200 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence Special Issue - Te Purenga Vol 8.2

Inherent in these discussions are expectations that a commitment to biculturalism will necessarily mean a commitment to the provision of a legal education that is deliberately transformative of the constitutional and legal framework and the processes of oppression that maintain the relative positions of Maori and Pakeha (or tauiwi) in this country. As Patricia Monture-Angus has observed in relation to Canadian legal education systems:

[o]ur challenge, and it must be a collective challenge, is to transform educational systems as we know them today. One reason that the challenge must be a collective one between Aboriginal Peoples and Canadians, is that it is only in this way that we can break the patronizing, parochial and colonial nature of our educational relations. We must expose and denounce the racism. Aboriginal Peoples do not need to be "helped" to attain some higher status or a greater degree of civilization. We need to be respected for who and what we are, as well as for how we have helped to shape this nation. We are not founding people. We are original people. And that is not found in our textbooks, or in Canadian history, or in our classrooms, or in our laws. Only through accepting the truth about Canadian history can education for Aboriginal people become a path to our freedom rather than a tool of our oppression.89

The participants in this research discussed specific incidents that they identified as successful or unsuccessful attempts, by Law School staff, to implement the bicultural objective. The common themes that arise from these incidents will now be considered.



In contrast to the difficulties, the participants did not discuss many positive experiences, although they were specifically asked about their successful experiences of the implementation of the bicultural objective.90 The successful aspects of the Law School's bicultural commitment that the participants discussed included: the efforts, role modelling, support and services provided by Te Whalcahiapo,91 the Maori

89 Monture-Angus, P Thunder in my Soul - A Mohawk Woman Speaks (1995) 96.
90 See Appendix 1 for the interview questions.
91 Te Whakahiapo is the Maori law students association at Waikato Law School.
2005 Waikato Law School: An Experiment in Bicultural Legal Education 201

liaison coordinators, other Maori students and indigenous staff; and the Maori streams92 (although the participants considered that there should be Maori-only Maori streams). One participant explained how important the support networks had been:

The positives for me that have come out of the Law School is the incredible support by the Maori students - Te Whakahiapo and that has actually sustained me - it has given me the energy to keep going and it's the Maori students who are so willing to share information ... they've been really approachable.


The participants identified four major areas of difficulty with the practical manifestation of the Law School's bicultural objective. In summary, the Law School is failing to provide an educational environment and experience in which: Maori students feel safe; Maori students and staff are free from racism generated by Pakeha (or tauiwi) students and staff; the use of to reo Maori (the Maori language) is promoted and actively supported by staff; Maori issues, values, aspirations, traditions and matauranga (knowledge) can be freely discussed without denigration from Pakeha (or tauiwi) students and staff; Maori content and a Maori presence pervades all courses and all levels of the Law School. As Patricia Monture-Angus points out in relation to Canadian legal education:

[t]he point is clear, Aboriginal Peoples now understand education for what it has been - a tool of our oppression. Education is merely a reflection of Canadian society - its version of history and its values. If our society is racist, and this is a fact that Canadians are now coming to understand, then our education systems can only reflect and further entrench that racism.93

  1. In the first year of the Waikato Law degree, there are currently three compulsory papers. Those papers are taught with a combination of large lectures and small-group teaching in streams. As one of the tangible manifestations of the Law School's bicultural objective, the Law School runs a Maori stream for each of those first year law courses. While the content is identical to the other streams, the Maori stream is taught by a Maori person and is an opportunity for students and staff to use the Maori language and also to engage in particular Maori pedagogy. It is also often a place where Maori students do not have to justify or explain anything about being Maori. These streams are not restricted to only Maori students although the majority of the class tend to be Maori.

93 Supra n 89 at 95.
202 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence Special Issue - Te Purenga Vol 8.2

The participants' accounts illustrate these difficulties. While their accounts do not fit exclusively under any one heading, I have attempted to group various accounts under the sub-headings of safety; racism; to reo; and Maori presence, for organisational purposes only.


One woman recalled her grief at the loss of Angela Rogers, who was a Maori member of the law school staff,' and how the Maori students had been told that all classes in the hour directly before Angela's memorial ceremony were to be cancelled. However when she went to the first hour of a two hour class just prior to Angela's memorial ceremony, the whole class was advised that the second hour was not cancelled, and furthermore the lecturer said he would be producing notes that would be relevant to the first assignment, and these notes would not be available from the library desk copy. Upon reflection on this experience, this woman said:

I think there's a number of staff members who don't say 'I want to work at Waikato Law School because of its strong women's issues and strong Maori issues focus. They're just here because lecturing is a good job and its good money and good holidays. ... They're not here for the same reasons. ... I'm still here, because I know that anywhere else would be worse, but you come here with your guard down, you think you're going to be looked after

The same woman explained what she meant by thinking that she would be looked after:

It's that you think that you're going to come here and you're going to be okay. But actually, even here you have to keep fighting. I have found that the safest place for me is to withdraw completely. Just come here to do my classes, know a few people, and then that's it - cut it off, because if you keep pushing, or you keep wanting to be involved in things, you're not safe.

94 Angela Rogers was a lecturer at Waikato Law School and died as a result of a

tragic car accident.
2005 Waikato Law School: An Experiment in Bicultural Legal Education 203


The following accounts by the research participants further illustrate the various forms of overt and covert racism that are perpetuated against Maori students and staff:

... there was a class we had, Public Law A or B ... I was one of two Maori women in the group that were discussing an issue, there were 10 of us altogether. And there were a lot of questions fired at us two Maori women about the Treaty - what did we think? I just said that we were hard done by and one of the women said, 'Oh, come on, you Maoris get everything put on your plate. Why can't you just get over it? Why can't you just get up and get out of it? I was in a stink marriage for years and years and I got out of it.' And I said to her, 'That's the difference. You were able to get out of it.' And she said, 'Oh come on, you've got to just get up and help yourselves.' I was so angry. Fortunately after that tutorial, I ran into another Maori woman and I told her 'I have just been in a tutorial and I've just been attacked as a Maori woman.'

... in year one there was a lecture given by a prominent lecturer in the Law School about racism. And as the focal point of his lecture he used the people from the Chatham Islands, the Moriori as an example of Maori invading and actually eating them. Now this was in a lecture to at least 150200 students. He had an overhead up showing a particular Moriori person who he contended was the last of the Moriori to survive. In deference to his statement I called out rather loudly that he had been teaching a myth, and this bought on other radical views from within the student body, so the whole lecture erupted because of the arguments that were going to and fro between the lecturer and other people in the student body who were opposed to what he was teaching. As a consequence of this, I wrote a paper after consulting with members of the Maori Studies Department and having done some research [and found that that particular Moriori] person had lived in Ngati Mutunga, in Taranaki, towards the end of his life and had married into the Raumati family and that they had descendants, so it was incorrect of the lecturer to believe that he was the last survivor and that the Moriori were now extinct on his death. That is not correct, hence the reason for my challenge. But as a consequence of the letter and the research that I wrote to this lecturer, I was branded as one of the many radicals on this campus who disrupt and cause problems within the campus ...

... people come here from other courses with a strict mindset and they become very argumentative and have this ideal or ideology that I guess they have inherited from their ancestors that they are superior people and that Maori fall into a second class status. I say that without reservation because it is so evident ... within the Law School there are some lecturers who perhaps struggle to push those Maori values and Maori ideals in their lectures because it meets with opposition.... there is definitely opposition
204 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence Special Issue - Te Purenga Vol 8.2

at times from Pakeha students who in a huff get up and walk out of lectures at times ... we have to get rid of the racist element in lectures, ... the truth is the truth and if people cannot stomach the truth as its laid out to them, well tough. And if they have to be made aware that historically their ancestors were unkind in any way toward the indigenous people that were here, then for goodness sake they have to stomach that, they have to swallow that, and live with it .. that's reality for me, I think there should be a part in the Law School, or a place in the Law School where that has to be taught openly

... one thing that happened that kind of pissed the Maori students off was the reaction that [one Maori lecturer received when lecturing about colonisation, the Treaty and the history of this legal system from] a lot of Pakeha students or tauiwi students ... caused a back lash of sorts as there was a lot of negative comments that came out in the newspaper ... they did it because the prospectus says that this law school has a commitment to biculturalism so its not as though they came here not knowing that. So I think it just showed a real bias and ignorance on their part to come up with something like that. Which goes to prove that racism is still alive and very well and kicking out there.

The presence of overt and subtle racism in the practices and teaching of this Law School is astonishing in light of its commitment to provide a bicultural legal education. In the words of Patricia Monture-Angus:

Racism, both overt and subtle, is one of the significant reasons why legal institutions have failed to meet the needs of all their students.95

Te Reo Maori (Maori language)

The Maori language is one of the official languages of New Zealand,96 and its presence is one of the indicators of a successful bicultural institution. The first group of Maori students at the Law School made a protest about the lack of facility to utilise the Maori language in the course of their examinations and other assessment. In response to that protest, the Law School has developed a "policy which acknowledges the right of students to submit written work in Maori".97

95 Supra n 89 at 108.
96 Maori Language Act 1987, s 3.
97 School of Law Undergraduate Prospectus (1999) 38.
2005 Waikato Law School: An Experiment in Bicultural Legal Education 205

Several of the participants shared, their disturbingly negative and unsupported experiences of doing their work in te reo Maori. One participant described her experience as follows:

... there's heaps of stuff that [the Law School] could do, just to make [using te reo] easier ... for instance, they could have given the assignments in te reo ... everything has been given to me in Pakeha. Why didn't [the Law School] give me questions in my test in te reo? ... you're jumping from one train of thought to another and ... I would look at [the question] from a Maori perspective, and I couldn't hear the question in te reo ... then I got locked into the taha Maori side of it, I couldn't come out of it and then I'd look at it from a Maori perspective and over time, I have really felt bashed about by that. And I feel like they haven't respected me, they haven't respected my mahi.... [some lecturers would say] 'oh you are doing to do it in te reo, it might not be easy, it might not be a good idea'. So I never got supported. In fact that really made me feel [like] when I was growing up, that te reo was second, a substandard language, it wasn't good enough for this Law School actually....

The same participant also described several incidents where her assignments written in te reo were either returned very late, often quite a long time after the other students had received their papers, or had not been returned at all. She recounted one example where one of her law one assignments had not yet been returned and as a consequence she had never had the benefit of that feedback.

Another who had been bought up with te reo and had formally studied it to Masters level explained that she had never submitted a piece of work in te reo because she had seen how difficult it was for others who did. She noted that:

... that's a perfect example of keeping yourself safe, so I don't want to have to fight, because you don't have the energy to do all your mahi and now especially as a mum, and I know heaps of Maori students here are parents and just the extra obligation that puts on you. You don't have the energy to have to come here and fight on top of doing all your work and getting all your assignments in, not for things like that.

Algon' Presence

The participants also discussed the level of Maori content and presence of Maori in all courses at all levels through the Law School. One participant noted that in first and second year there's a lot of Maori content and there are also the Maori streams so the bicultural kaupapa was evident. However in third year she commented that:
206 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence Special Issue - Te Purenga Vol 8.2

... [the Maori content] disappears somewhat and I can't remember having a Maori lecturer in my third year, ... that's probably another reason why it became invisible in the third year.

Another participant considered that not enough time and respect was given to the teaching of the Treaty of Waitangi. He comments:

... in New Zealand here and even in this Law School [the Treaty] doesn't have that element of tapu or sacredness that Maori would ordinarily give it,

I think more time should be spent on it.

Intervention strategies required

These accounts of some of the participants' experiences at the Law School profoundly illustrate the need for this Law School to develop and implement intervention strategies which achieve, at a bare minimum, a culturally safe learning environment that is free of racism. As a result of her observation and experience of the perpetration of racism by Pakeha students on Maori students and staff, Ani Mikaere98 came to the conclusion that:

for some purposes, Maori and Pakeha students would best be taught separately. For example, the material in legal systems on the usurpation of Maori law by Pakeha law should be taught to Maori students by Maori lecturers, and to Pakeha students by Pakeha lecturers. This would enable Maori staff to employ their energies where they are most needed - amongst Maori students. It would also require Pakeha lecturers to take responsibility for Pakeha students' learning, and for helping them through the problems that they, as Pakeha, have with such material. It should not be the job of Maori staff to expose ourselves and our students to Pakeha students' racism and guilt."

This Law School must heed the descriptions, criticisms and research conducted or offered by its Maori students and staff. It is time to start listening and it is time for action. The next part of this chapter presents

  1. Ani Mikaere of Ngati Raukawa ki to Tonga was one of the foundation Maori academic staff members at Waikato Law School and taught there until 2001.
  2. Mikaere, A"Taku Titiro: Viewpoint Rhetoric, reality and Recrimination: Striving to Fulfil the Bicultural Commitment at Waikato Law School" (1998) 3(2) He Pukenga Korero 12.

2005 Waikato Law School: An Experiment in Bicultural Legal Education 207

some strategies for action to address the difficulties experienced by Maori students at the Law School, and to progress the realisation of the Law School's bicultural commitment.


Since the establishment of the Law School, there have been some positive starting points for a bicultural legal education and institution. There has been a steady increase in the number of Maori students and staff. In 1996, 20% of the student body were Maori, and in 2005 it is now 25%. In 1995 there were 4 Maori academic staff, 2 Maori general staff and some Maori tutoring assistance, and in 2005, there are 5.5 Maori academic staff including 3.5 senior lecturers and 2 lecturers, one Maori member of general staff, a Maori liaison position and a law school kuia.

There is a substantial amount of Maori and Treaty content in a small number of courses, and a little Maori content in others. The Law School also offers tikanga Maori workshops and teaching streams in the compulsory stage 1 law courses; these streams and workshops have attracted a majority of Maori students and seem to have worked

Maori students, with the support of Maori staff, have established Te Whakahiapo, the Maori law students association. Te Whakahiapo actively provides support to Maori students through a buddy system and various activities throughout the year; and a forum to discuss Maori students' issues and Maori issues generally. In 1995, the Law School provided a study room for the Maori students.'°'

Also, in 1995 the position of Maori Liaison Officer was established through the part time employment of one of the Maori graduatesm who in this position facilitated access to resources and assistance which the Law School and University provide.103 In 2005, the position of Maori Liaison Officer was made a permanent position.

101 Infra n 107 at 94.

102 That graduate was Makere Papuni-Ball who almost single-handedly created this position.
103 Infra n 107 at 94.
208 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence Special Issue - Te Purenga Vol 8.2

Te Piringa, comprising Maori academic and general staff within the school, was formally established in 1999. Te Piringa has encouraged collaborative kaupapa Maori research and teaching, which has resulted in joint conference papers and publications. In July 1999 Te Piringa hosted the inaugural Maori legal academics conference, which was attended by Maori law staff from Otago, Victoria, Auckland and Waikato Universities.

Maori Students' Suggestions for Action

Interestingly, despite the pain, anger and annoyance that some of the participants recalled when describing their experiences at the Law School, all offered thoughtful and well considered suggestions for improving the Law School's performance of its bicultural objective with regards to Maori students. The participants' responses reflect their concern, not only for the future of Maori students, but also for the Law School and its future development of a legal education that is inclusive and meaningfull°4 for Maori. That these participants could also reflect so constructively, creatively and positively on the future development of an institution which they had simultaneously described as racist, was a humbling experience for me as the researcher, but it was also entirely consistent with the integrity, honesty and thoughtful contributions that they brought to this research project.

104 See Monture-Angus, supra n 89 at 91 where she notes that "I would argue that numerical equality may only be one of the relevant goals [for Aboriginal education]. Equality of numbers alone will not be enough. Numbers cannot act as an indicator of the meaningfulness of the educational experience. It is against this single criterion, meaningfulness, that the greatest inequality has been perpetuated against Aboriginal Peoples. ... Education is a significant gatekeeper to the opportunities we are able to access. This is the first way in which education can be defined as meaningful.... It is in this second way of defining meaningful education, as a tool of cultural survival and as a means of reaffirming the validity of Aboriginal culture, that the worst injustices have been committed against Aboriginal Peoples and our distinct cultures."
2005 Waikato Law School: An Experiment in Bicultural Legal Education 209

One participant expressed his view in these terms:

I think in all fairness to [Pakeha] they are triers, and they do make an honest effort to try and meet those requirements of biculturalism, but as I said earlier that is a difficult thing to achieve if you have been brought up in a Pakeha world, with Pakeha values. It's not easy to appreciate other racial values unless some form of decolonisation programme is firstly used and I am a bit afraid of that term, decolonisation, because it sends shivers up people's backs, especially Pakeha.

And later the same participant said:

... I think there is an element of good faith amongst people generally.... if we are to progress into the next century with some form of equity for Maori and Pakeha ... I think if we work in harmony together you know conciliation ought to be the guiding principle somewhere.

The participants' ideas for future development of the Law School's commitment to biculturalism include: developing a parallel management structure including two Deans (one Maori and one Pakeha or tauiwi); requiring staff (as a condition of their employment) to demonstrate what they can and will contribute to the aspirations of the Law School, particularly the Law School's commitment to biculturalism and women's issues; decolonisation training for staff to teach them about Maori values, aspirations, perspectives so that they can begin to develop a bicultural perspective; training in te reo Maori for the staff; provision of all exams and assessments in te reo Maori; provision of a dictionary of legal terms and concepts in te reo Maori; active recruitment of Maori students who speak te reo and active support of their continued use of te reo at Law School; developing a collection of Maori students essays and research to be made available in the library; continued invitations to people from outside the law who have expertise in Maori customary law to lecture; increasing the critical mass of Maori students and staff (up to at least 50%); increasing Maori content and a Maori presence across all levels of the Law School and in all courses; and establishing Maori-only Maori streams.

This list is not exhaustive, but provides some stimuli for future development of Law School structures, curriculum, staffing, policies, teaching and research practices, and outcomes. In particular, these suggestions illustrate that the legal education provided by the Law
210 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence Special Issue - Te Purenga Vol 8.2

School must engage more deeply with the tensions, the pain, the racism and Euro-centrism that Maori experience on a daily basis. This form of legal education must move beyond informal quotas of Maori students, staff and content, and confront the legacy of nearly 160 years of colonisation. This means seeing the realities described by Maori students and staff, accepting them without self-defensive justification, and committing to the liberating journey ahead. Commitment is one of the critical elements in this process. For all Pakeha or tauiwi, this will require "a profound rebirth ... [and] ... tak[ing] on a new form of existence".105 As Friere has revealed:

... as [the oppressors] cease to be exploiters or indifferent spectators or simply the heirs of exploitation and move to the side of the exploited, they almost always bring with them the marks of their origin: their prejudices and their deformations, which include a lack of confidence in the people's ability to think, to want, and to know. Accordingly, these adherents to the people's cause constantly run the risk of falling into a type of generosity as harmful as that of the oppressors. The generosity of the oppressors is nourished by an unjust order, which must be maintained in order to justify that generosity. Our converts, on the other hand, truly desire to transform the unjust order; but because of their background they believe that they must be the executors of the transformation. They talk about the people, but they do not trust them; and trusting the people is the indispensable precondition for revolutionary change.... Those who authentically commit themselves to the people must re-examine themselves constantly.'

Stephanie Milroy's suggestions for Action

In 1996 Stephanie Milroy presented a number of suggestions for action to further the development of the bicultural vision of the Law School.'°7 The basis of those suggestions was Ranginui Walker's notion of the:

establishment of kaupapa Maori ... [by increased numbers of Maori staff and students] to achieve genuine social transformation from monoculturalism to bicultural ism. "

105 Freire, P Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972) 37.
106 Ibid, 36.

107 Milroy, S "Waikato Law School: An Experiment in Bicultural Legal Education" (Unpublished Masters Thesis, 1996) 96-105.

108 Walker, R "Liberating Maori from Education Subjection" Matawhanui hui-a-tau (1991).
2005 Waikato Law School: An Experiment in Bicultural Legal Education 211

Milroy suggested that this basis must be extended by: ensuring that Maori staff are appointed at higher levels, and that they obtain a "greater share of decision-making power"I°9 ; significant Maori content in all courses; development of parallel teaching spaces for Pakeha and Maori students, which would facilitate the creation of culturally appropriate pedagogical space, and practices for Maori, while at the same time Pakeha (or tauiwi) lecturers could address the issues that arise for Pakeha (or tauiwi) students.110

Ultimately, Milroy called for the establishment of a "kaupapa Maori programme specifically for Maori students, run by Maori staff: education by Maori for Maori"111 . She envisaged that such a programme would be developed out of the needs and wants of the Maori students and their communities, thus culturally appropriate decision-making and accountability systems would also need to be developed.112 Alongside this programme, Milroy identified the need for "ongoing and intensive research into Maori law and issues which could then be incorporated into the Maori programme.113 She considered that such research:

should include researching ways in which the existing law can be transformed into an appropriate system for Maori ... [, and] ... the effect of Pakeha law on Maori"4

Stephanie Mi/roy's Action Plan

To achieve these aims, Stephanie Milroy proposed an action plan, which is summarised as follows:

1. The Maori staff form a unit with clearly defined duties such as "admissions to the Law School, liaison with the Maori community, recruitment of Maori students, staff appointments, and the kaupapa Maori research programme"' 15 ;

109 Supra n 107 at 97.
110 Ibid, 97-99. Also see Mikaere at supra n 99 and accompanying text.
111 Ibid, 99.
112 Ibid.
113 Ibid.
114 Ibid.
115 Ibid, 102.
212 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence Special Issue - Te Purenga Vol 8.2

  1. Curriculum content review by the Maori unit should be conducted to "establish the levels of Maori content in the courses"116;
  2. The Law School instigate regular data gathering on Maori students' performance to establish "reasons for drop out or failure"117 where this occurs;
  3. Orientation programmes for Maori students "to come to grips with the reality of the Law School as it currently is", I 18 and for Pakeha students to develop their understanding of the bicultural vision of the Law School;
  4. University to provide formal training to Maori and Pakeha staff in Maori language and culture, and where necessary to provide teaching or administrative relief to encourage staff to take up this opportunity;
  5. The Law School must develop a medium term plan with specific goals and timeframes by which those goals must be met. Such a plan must be developed with the Law Schools' communities, and should address:

sharing of decision-making powers, resource allocation and the creation of the kaupapa Maori programme for both teaching and research ... [the] barriers to achieving the[se] objectives as well as the strategies for overcoming such barriers'19

further Suggestions

Patricia Monture-Angus has developed an inexhaustive list of ways that Law Schools as institutions can begin to address racism. As this research project has confirmed, racism was identified by the participants and also by the foundation Dean as a significant obstacle in the Maori students' experience of the legal education provided by this Law School. That this is so in a Law School aspiring to provide a bicultural legal education is even more alarming. However, it is a reality that both staff and students must continue to address. For as Patricia Monture-Angus contends:

116 Ibid.
117 Ibid.
118 Ibid, 103.
119 Ibid, 104.
2005 Waikato Law School: An Experiment in Bicultural Legal Education 213

Law schools must begin to affirm the message that racism will not be tolerated in any circumstances or under any conditions. There are a number of ways in which this message can be sent: institutional financial support for 'minority' initiatives, including scholarships (rather than continuously using this type of program as a source of outside funding), immediate academic sanctions against students who engage in racist activity and clear policies which set out these sanctions, careful attention to ensure that so-called special programs do not become ghettoized but are seen as central to the law school program (that is, the formal rejection of the 'missionary' approach to legal education), administrative action (as opposed to the usual inaction including the apology for racist incidents) which supports the perceptions of 'minority' students and professors, the hiring of more `minority' professors and support staff, an ombudsperson, sympathetic faculty which means a faculty educated on issues of racism, inclusive curriculum development, the reassessment of the admission criteria ... and the inclusion in the law schools of symbols to which we identify.120

Patricia Monture-Angus also provides a list of other initiatives that address participation and not racism directly. They include:

establishment of clinical programs. Existing law clinics should embrace the concerns and desires of local Aboriginal communities. This should be happening in a systematic and formalized way. Further clinical programs could be developed to address the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system .... Issues of self-government from a traditional Aboriginal perspective demand research now and could be incorporated in existing clinical and community programs. Programs in poverty law would also seem to bear a significant relationship to Aboriginal Peoples and the specifics of our experience should be incorporated into these programs.

Graduate studies programs in law need desperately to be developed, and Aboriginal involvement in graduate studies needs to be encouraged.121

Some of the initiatives overlap with the suggestions made by Stephanie Milroy and the research participants. Together these suggestions provide enough ideas to develop a medium-long term plan for the Law School's fulfilment of its bicultural commitment. There are only two aspects of the strategies for liberating action that I wish to emphasise, that is: firstly, we must develop a medium-term plan for implementation of these strategies; and secondly, we must continue to act with urgency.

120 Supra n 89 at 115.
121 Ibid, 116.
214 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence Special Issue - Te Purenga Vol 8.2


In the ideal world, the Law School would attract self-reflective Maori and Pakeha (or tauiwi) who were actively engaged in the oppressed peoples' projects of liberation from oppression. All of these people would be active practitioners of a transformative model of education. They would all be bilingual, and maybe even multi-lingual. In a utopian vision, they would be truly bicultural. The necessary pre-requisites to achieve this utopia are: people; capacity to see the existing inequalities; and commitment to struggle to transform those inequalities.

It is inevitable that Maori must and will lead such a journey in Aotearoa. For, as Friere has pointed out - it is the oppressed who can see and name the oppression, as they have lived it fully.122 Through this process of seeing the reality of our lives, we must ultimately face the source of oppression with the purpose of transforming ourselves, our lives and the fundamental basis of our inauthentic existence.

Maori students and staff, since the inception of the Law School, have critiqued its attempts to develop the bicultural objective. In doing so, we have engaged in the process of change and action, both of which are necessary for the development of an emancipatory model for education, and in particular, bicultural education. While this has been painful at times, it is also inevitable in a country such as New Zealand which is intent on suppressing its colonial roots. The bicultural objective is not just a site for struggle, it is symbolic of a much bigger project of transformation and liberation from oppression. As such, despite its many shortcomings, the bicultural commitment and its accompanying challenges provide a way forward.

122 Supra n 105 at 20-21 where Friere discusses the dehumanization of the oppressed.

He states: "Because [dehumanization] is a distortion of being more fully human, sooner or later being less human leads the oppressed to struggle against those who made them so. In order for this struggle to have meaning, the oppressed must not, in seekin to regain their humanity (which is a way to create it), becofhe in turn oppressors of the oppressors, but raterh restorers of the humanity of both.

This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppresed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well."
2005 Waikato Law School: An Experiment in Bicultural Legal Education 215

Appendix 1- Questionnaire

The themes that I wish to explore are:
Introductory Warm-up Questions

  1. Why did you decide to do law?
  2. Why did you choose Waikato Law School?
  3. What were your expectations when you applied to Waikato? Have they changed? How? Why? If so, what are your expectations now?

What is biculturalism?

  1. What do you think biculturalism means?
  2. What do you think about the following statement of the Law School's commitment to biculturalism:

The School of Law provides, through its curriculum, its research activities and its own structures, both a reaffirmation and a professional extension of the University's commitment to biculturalism.I23

Application and Implementation of the Bicultural Objective

  1. Think about a situation where you consider the staff or the Law School failed to apply or to implement the bicultural objective-6.1 what happened?

6.2 how did this experience fail to apply or implement the bicultural

6.3 why do you think this experience was a failure?

6.4 in retrospect, how do you think the bicultural objective could have been applied and further how could it have been promoted?

123 Supra n 97 at 5.
216 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence Special Issue - Te Purenga Vol 8.2

  1. Think about a situation where you consider the staff or the Law School successfully applied or implemented the bicultural objective

7.l what happened?

7.2 how did this experience successfully apply or implement the

bicultural objective?

7.3 why do you think this experience was successful?

7.4 in retrospect, could this successful application or

implementation of the bicultural objective be utilised in other

situations? If so, how? If not, why not?

  1. What does the bicultural objective mean to you? How can it be more comprehensively and consistently applied and implemented?

8.l by lecturers - teaching, course materials, assessment, degree

8.2 by administration;

8.3 in the Law School's policy-making and development;

8.4 in the Law School's management and governance structures.

Why/why not?

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