Society marks 25th anniversary

University of Otago senior law student and scholarship recipient Kaahu White (left) and Otago law...
University of Otago senior law student and scholarship recipient Kaahu White (left) and Otago law Prof Jacinta Ruru. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Many high-profile lawyers and New Zealand’s first female Maori law professor,  Jacinta Ruru, took part in celebrations yesterday marking the 25th anniversary of the University of Otago Maori Law Students Society.

About 90 people, including several senior lawyers from throughout the country, converged on the university campus to participate in the two-day festivities, which end today.

Yesterday’s activities included a  keynote address by Otago University law graduate and Animation Research Ltd chief executive Ian Taylor.

Later, a panel of  law graduates discussed aspects of family law, in honour of former Otago law dean Prof Mark Henaghan, who has long taken a keen interest in family law.

Senior Otago law student Kaahu White was yesterday awarded the latest annual Jolene Patuawa-Tuilave $3000 scholarship for Maori leadership in law.

Ms White said the scholarship was "humbling" and the funding was a "huge help" with her studies.

Prof Ruru said Te Roopu Whai Putake, the Otago Maori Law Students Society, had played a "really important" support and mentoring role for Maori law students over the years.

The society had long provided "a really strong mentoring process that takes place among first-year students through to final-year students".

The society had also helped support a significant increase in Maori law student numbers at Otago, from about 20 when the society began 25 years ago, to about 100 now, she said. There had also been a big increase in the range and variety of the work undertaken by Otago Maori law graduates, she said.

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