January 01, 2022
Law expert Jacinta Ruru sees Māori future
The country’s first Māori professor of Law sees her tohu in the New Year’s Honour’s list as encouraging for a wider group fighting for law reform that recognises Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Jacinta Ruru from Raukawa, Ngāti Ranginui, and Ngāti Manapoto was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Maori and the law.
She says Otago University was a lonely place when she was the only Māori in the law faculty 20 years ago, so it was heartening to see how recognition of the importance of Māori in the law has grown.
The tohu comes with an opportunity and a responsibility to continue the battle for recognition of Te Tiriti and the building of a truly just and fair society in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Professor Ruru says as the next generation of legally-trained Māori grow in influence, the barriers to such a future are being brought down.
Seeing how proud her parents are of her award brought home to her that such recognition is not hers alone but belongs to all those who have stood by and supported her down through the years..