National Kaupapa Māori Moot Competition 2013
The National Kaupapa Māori Moot Competition was held at the Māori Land Court in Rotorua on Friday the 6th of September. Moot Judges, Judge Steven Clark and John Chadwick, could not separate the two winners of the Gina Rudland Cup for Outstanding Mooter: Philip Bradshaw (Auckland University) and Mariarna Te Tai (Waikato University).
The judges congratulated the six finalists on the high calibre of their arguments and presentation skills. Hiria Te Kauru-Green and Alaska Ratana (Victoria) together with Liam Stoneley (Canterbury) argued for the appellant. Eru Davies (Auckland), and the winners, Bradshaw and Te Tai, argued for the respondent, and won the Manukura Trophy for the best team. This year three of the six finalists (Te Kauru-Green, Ratana and Te Tai) mooted in te reo Māori.
The moot canvassed arguments about whether Māori charged with serious criminal offences may be tried in accordance with a parallel system of criminal justice based on tikanga Māori. The problem was based on recent judgements of the High Court and the Court of Appeal in R v Mason, and resurrected Moana Jackson’s recommendations in the discussion paper He Whaipaanga Hou.
A number of practitioners from Rotorua and Tauranga supported the event. Counsel appointed to represent Mason, Annette Sykes, provided the students with some of the context behind the R v Mason case. Miharo Armstrong offered some words of wisdom about arguing issues such as these in ‘less friendly’ courts. Other practitioners who supported the event included Louis Te Kani, Donna Hika, Whare Hika, Ana Morrison, and former president of Te Hunga Roia Maori, Ngaroma Tahana.
The dinner speaker was Ani Bennett, co-president of Te Hunga Roia Māori and criminal and employment law litigator, who provided valuable insights about career pathways in law. Over 50 students from Auckland, AUT, Waikato, Victoria and Canterbury Universities came together to support their peers.
In the absence of a hui-a-tau this year, this event provided an excellent opportunity for students to meet and talk with judges, practitioners, policy makers and academics – to be inspired culturally and academically, and to be noticed by potential employers.
The academic representative on the Te Hunga Roia Māori executive, Linda Te Aho, organised the event and acknowledges Te Piringa Faculty of Law, Waikato University, for their sponsorship; Mylene Rakena and Matiu Dickson for their assistance; staff and students of participating faculties; the people of Taharangi Marae, Rotorua; and Judge Coxhead and the staff of the Rotorua Māori Land Court for the superb venue and their manaakitanga.