A west Auckland community leader says a newly-opened community law centre is essential because it is helping tangata whenua know their legal rights.
Dame June Mariu opened the new Waitemaka Community Law Centre, which offers support and legal assistance, in Henderson last week.
It has a kaupapa Maori team, which caters to the needs of tangata whenua who go to the centre.
Dame June of Te Whanau a Apanui and Ngati Porou descent works at Hoani Waititi Marae at west Auckland helping with the community programmes it runs.
She said it was an honour to open the centre, Te Korowai i Waitemata, and that services like it were very important for west Auckland.
She said organisations like it were essential to ensure those who could not afford a lawyer and who did not know the law very well could seek legal guidance.
Dame June said unfortunately many Maori sat in that bracket and, although the image was changing, there was still a stereotype that Maori were just hoha (nuisances) in the community, which she said was not true.