Tēnā Koe, ko Joshua Hitchcock ahau.
Welcome to Māori Law and Politics. This site provides a space for my musings of Māori issues as they relate to law and politics. As the site’s address alludes to, I am a Māori lawyer, specialising in Māori Legal Issues and Public and Constitutional Law.
There is a lack of quality analysis of the law, insofar as it relates to, and impacts upon Māori in Aotearoa and I want this site to be part of a growing network of Māori bloggers who can each provide unique insights into much-needed law reform to advance Te Ao Māori, and to provide a Māori analysis on the leading political issues of the day.
As much as possible, Māori Law and Politics will be a forward-looking, positive expression of our potential as Māori. Policy ideas will be discussed and floated for comment and legal issues will be dissected. The reality of Aotearoa/New Zealand is that we, as Māori, now share this beautiful country with people of many different races and creeds.
I am a strong believer in Tino Rangatiratanga – the right of the whānau and hapū to decide their own approach and take control of their own affairs, but at the same time I am an Officer of the High Court of New Zealand and I take this responsibility seriously. Like it or not, we are part of a collective society and any commentary on Māori law and politics needs to be grounded in this fact. While this position may leave me open to criticism from many Māori activists, I make no apologies for it. I am proud of my shared heritage as both Māori and Pākehā. Both whānau have long histories in Aotearoa and have actively contributed to making this country the wonderful place that it is.
In 2008 an edited version of my Legal Honours dissertation was published in the University of Auckland Law Review (2008) 14 Auckland U L Rev 217. In this paper I analysed the difficulty faced by owners of Māori land in accessing finance to develop their land. I concluded that there existed a market failure in relation to access of finance for development due to the special circumstances of Maori land tenure. In recognition of tino rangatiratanga (self-determination), I proposed the establishment of a Māori Mutual Society to lend finance for such development. A Māori Mutual would be controlled by the Māori investors and would allow lending to occur according to Māori tikanga (law).
In August 2010, I commented on current proceedings before the Waitangi Tribunal investigating the purported transfer of sovereignty from Māori to the British Crown in 1840 on the Settler Colonial Studies Blog. You can find the interview here.
Enterprise Law – Staff Solicitor (March 2011 – April 2013)
As a solicitor at Enterprise Law, I split my focus between Waitangi Tribunal claims and commercial work for Māori entities. I am currently representing claimants in the Te Rohe Pōtae and Te Paparahi o Te Raki district inquiries, and on numerous commercial matters.
Tamaki Legal – Staff Solicitor (November 2009 – December 2010)
Tamaki Legal is a specialist Māori law firm and during my 14 months with the firm I represented Claimants before the Waitangi Tribunal in the Te Rohe Pōtae and Te Paparahi o Te Raki District Inquiries, and took an active role in the Stage I Te Paparahi o Te Raki Hearings into the meaning and effect of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and He Whakaputanga o Nga Rangatira o Niu Tireni.
Office of the Banking Ombudsman - Investigator (May 2009 – October 2009)
Responsibilities: On Secondment from Chen Palmer, my role at the Office of the Banking Ombudsman involved drafting initial assessment reports on complaints lodged with the Office. My role involved a focus on assessing and responding to complainants made that allege inappropriate advice provided by a Bank’s financial advisers in relation to investment portfolio design, and in particular advice to invest in a now frozen international fixed interest fund.
Chen Palmer - Associate (2008 – 2009)
Responsibilities: Chen Palmer is a specialist public law firm in Wellington, New Zealand. Founded by constitutional law expert Mai Chen and former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Chen Palmer was named best Public Law firm in New Zealand in 2008 and 2009. I joined Chen Palmer as a law clerk in March 2008 and was promoted to an associate following admission to the Bar in July 2008. I have worked for a range of clients across many areas of public law, including banking and finance and Maori issues. I have advised on:
- a range of banking and finance issues, including the Crown Deposit Guarantee Scheme and the prudential regulation of insurers and non-bank deposit takers;
- the regulations relating to options trading in New Zealand;
- post Waitangi Tribunal settlement negotiations;
- the prospects of a claim before the Waitangi Tribunal and preparation of evidence prior to negotiations with the Office of Treaty Settlements;
- applications for medical ethics approval for clinical trials; and
- proceedings against the Ministry of Health in respect of a pharmaceutical licence (settled prior to Tribunal hearing).
Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry of Maori Development) - Policy Analyst (Intern) (Nov 2006 – Apr 2007)
Responsibilities: During my summer internship at Te Puni Kokiri I prepared and progressed two research projects pertaining to Māori land issues and provided administrative support to an advisory group from a multi-national financial institution conducting a review of regional offices.
In this role I developed a keen sense of government processes and took the opportunities to engage with Māori, both at head office in Wellington and at five regional offices.