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Public Lecture: The Honourable Justice Whata

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Stone Lecture Theatre (801-316)

Auckland Law School

9 Eden Crescent

Auckland, 1010

New Zealand

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The Aotearoa New Zealand Centre for Indigenous Peoples and the Law invite you to a recepetion and public lecture by Justice Whata:


The idea of equality, and more specifically substantive equality, has been used to promote changes to the criminal justice system to respond to the gross asymmetric representation of Maori in prisons. Conversely, equal treatment under the law or what I call formal equality has been identified as a basis for rejecting any “race” based discrimination whether positive or negative, in the operation of criminal justice. While jurists and criminologists have for decades grappled with the competing ideas of substantive equality and formal equality; the proper application of the principle of equality has particular currency at this point in time in our legal history, given the apparently entrenched disproportionate representation of Maori in prisons. In this lecture, I will examine this important debate at a jurisprudential level, but with an eye to what is happening to Maori in the justice system and how that system is responding.


Justice Whata is from Ngati Pikiao and Ngati Tamateatutahi - Kawiti of Te Arawa. Justice Whata graduated from Auckland University in 1992 and was admitted to the bar in the same year, obtaining an LLB (Hons) in 1994. He commenced working with the Auckland firm of Simpson Grierson until 1993 when he took up a position in the general litigation team at Kensington Swan until 1995. He obtained an LLM (1st class) from the University of Cambridge, then took employment with Russell McVeagh from 1997-2001, becoming a partner in 2001. He specialised in resource management law and Maori issues. Justice Whata was appointed a High Court Judge on 1 March 2011, initially based at the Christchurch High Court. He is now based in Auckland.


Pre-lecture refreshments will be served in the Law Staff Common Room (801-409) from 5pm.

Please RSVP by 17 July.

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Stone Lecture Theatre (801-316)

Auckland Law School

9 Eden Crescent

Auckland, 1010

New Zealand

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