Improving Pasifika Legal Education Project – The Report

In 1936, Olive Malienafau Nelson became New Zealand’s first Pasifika law graduate when she received her bachelor degree from the University of Auckland. Almost 86 years later, the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation funded a project entitled Equity, Belonging and Authority – How can Law, Policy and Practice support Pasifika in Aotearoa New Zealand – Improving Pasifika Legal Education (Improving Pasifika Legal Education Project) which, for the first time, explored Pasifika people’s participation in tertiary education with a focus on legal education. The findings from this project revealed that while Pasifika students participating in legal education in Aotearoa New Zealand has grown considerably, they are still ‘grossly underrepresented’ in the legal profession. One of the questions that has arisen since the release of this report is: What does this report mean for law schools in Aotearoa New Zealand? This presentation explores this question and offers some suggestions.

About the Speaker

Dr Mele Tupou-Vaitohi is a senior law lecturer at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington. Formerly lead researcher for the Improving Pasifika Legal Education Project, Mele has worked as Manager of the Parliamentary Law and Practice team of the Office of the Clerk in the New Zealand Parliament, Chief Executive of the Ministry of Justice – Tonga, and a law lecturer at the University of the South Pacific. She has held senior leadership roles in the Tonga public service particularly in the Ministry of Justice, Crown Law Office, Public Service Commission and the Legislative Assembly of Tonga. She is a leading scholar on Tongan constitutional law and has a PhD in law from the University of Otago. She completed her LLM from Queen Mary University, London and LLB from the University of the South Pacific.

Date: Friday 18 August 2023
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM Lecture
6:00 PM - 6:30 PM Coffee and tea

Location: Stone Lecture Theatre (801-316, Auckland Law School, 9 Eden Crescent Auckland, 1010)