New president will help commission address its tea ao Māori responsibilities, justice minister says
Amokura Kawharu, an associate professor at The University of Auckland, has been named Law Commission president, the first Māori to take up the role.
Kawharu (Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Whātua) succeeds the Hon Sir Douglas White KNZM QC, who stepped down from the role last year. The new president will commence in her new role on 11 May.
“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,” Justice Minister Andrew Little said.
Kawharu earned her arts and law degrees, with honours, from Auckland University. She also has a master of laws, first class with a major in international law, from the University of Cambridge.
She joined the University of Auckland in 2005 after years in commercial law private practice in Auckland and Sydney. Her research interests include international trade and investment law, arbitration, and international dispute resolution. She and David Williams QC are the co-authors of Williams & Kawharu on Arbitration.
Little also acknowledged the work of Helen McQueen, deputy president of the Law Commission. She headed the organisation for the last six months while it was searching for a new president.