February 19, 2014
Tomas challenged cultural thinking
Tributes have been flowing for former Auckland University associate professor Nin Tomas, who is being buried today at her family urupa near Kaitaia.
Dr Tomas died on Monday after a long battle with cancer.
Lawyer Annette Sykes says she had made a huge contribution through her teaching and mentoring of a generation of Maori lawyers.
She was able to bring a Maori intellectual dimension to the debates over the Treaty of Waitangi and biculturalism which were opened up at the law school by Pakeha colleagues like Jane Kelsey and David Williams.
"She came in with her distinct brand of Te Rarawa-style advocacy and caring for the environment was her complete passion, and a number of the Maori woman who were in the law school at that time made their mark on the institution. I think people like (former law school head) Professor Jock Brookfield at her tangihanga and the number of the other Pakeha academics who attended was a testimony to the kind of challenges she made to them on the cultural thinking of the period," Ms Sykes says.
Nin Tomas’ mixed Maori and Croatian heritage gave her a perspective that there were alternatives to the standard British approach to justice.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH ANNETTE SYKES CLICK ON THE LINK
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