Amokura Kawharu appointed first Māori president of Law Commission

2:19 pm on 12 February 2020

Amokura Kawharu has been appointed the next president of the Law Commission - the first Māori to ever be in the role.

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept, court

Photo: ikiryo/123RF

Kawharu (Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Whatua) became a member of the Auckland Law School academic staff in 2005 after working for several years in private commercial law practice in Auckland and in Sydney.

As an associate professor, her research interests include international trade and investment law, arbitration, and international disputes resolution.

She has contributed reviews on dispute settlements for New Zealand Law Review and co-authored the leading text on New Zealand arbitration law with David Williams QC, "Williams & Kawharu on Arbitration".

Justice Minister Andrew Little said Kawharu would bring some great attributes to the role.

"Amokura Kawharu has the ability to lead an innovative and forward-looking approach to the law reform process, and brings extensive networks throughout Māoridom and academic circles that can assist in how the Commission addresses its responsibilities regarding te ao Māori," he said.

She will start the role in May, taking over from Deputy President Helen McQueen who has led the Commission since Sir Douglas White retired as commissioner last May.

The principal functions of the Law Commission are to take and keep under review the law of New Zealand, and to make recommendations on reform and development.