News Item

September 2012

Pacific Law and Culture Conference

The conference Law and Culture 2012: Pacific Law and Aotearoa/New Zealand, was held at the University of Auckland from 29-31 August, and hosted by the Faculty of Law.

The focus for the conference was on the NZ-Pacific relationship and current legal challenges that face Pacific nations. Presentations were given on issues of land ownership and tenure; the intersections and tensions between customary law and constitutional law; questions of electoral and constitutional law; family law and the governance of natural resources.

Opening keynote speakers were Sir Kenneth Keith, of the International Court of Justice, who spoke on “Reflections on Some Pacific Constitutions” and “Asipeli” Aminiasi Kefu, the Solicitor General of Tonga, who spoke on “Tongan Constitutions and Culture”. Sir Anand Satyanand, former Governor-General of New Zealand, gave a keynote speech at a roundtable on judicial diversity.

Over 100 people attended, including practitioners, academics and students from Australasia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Four “Emerging Voices” panels were convened for students to present their research to participants, and three inter-university Pacific Law mooting competitions were held. The teams came from University of South Pacific in Fiji and Vanuatu, and the Universities of Otago, Victoria and Auckland. The winning teams were from Otago (Tom English, Hans To’o and Mikayla Zandstra), Fiji (David Solvalu and Deepika Sharma) and Auckland (Epifania Alesana, Tama Toki and Laura Bacon).

Details about how to access conference proceedings will be published once they are available.

This University of Auckland report has more in-depth coverage on the conference.

The Law Foundation provided up to $15,000 to cover expenses for keynote speakers and law students who took part in the conference. A contribution is also being made to cover the dissemination of conference proceedings.

Panellists for round-table on Judicial Diversity: Legal practitioners David Clark, Tavake Afeaki, Bernadette Arapere

Panellists for the roundtable on Judicial Diversity, Auckland legal practitioners David Clark (NZ Law Foundation Trustee), Tavake Afeaki and Bernadette AraperePhoto by Godfrey Boehnke, University of Auckland