Apr 12, 2021


Maori News & Indigenous Views

Maori under-represented in legal profession

1 min read

Statistics obtained by the New Zealand Law Society (NZLS) indicate that Maori are under-represented in the legal profession.

The latest issue of the NZLS magazine LawTalk says data from the 2006 census showed that Maori made up around 5.5 percent of New Zealand lawyers. The overall proportion of Maori in the New Zealand population is around 15 percent.

To establish if Maori participation in the law was improving, LawTalk analysed law graduates in 2010. This showed that Maori made up 8 percent of 2010 graduates.

This is in line with general enrolment at these universities where Maori also made up 8 percent in 2011, LawTalk says.

While NZLS keeps records of the ethnicity of lawyers, this information is provided voluntarily, and only 62 percent of lawyers have elected to do so. Of these, 3.5% have said they are Maori.

The co-President of the Maori Law Society, Tama Potaka, told LawTalk that encouraging Maori participation in law is an opportunity universities should grasp.

It is important for Maori and New Zealand for there to be a better understanding of the law amongst Maori at individual, tribal, and community levels, he says.

There is also a swiftly emerging need for lawyers to be equipped to work with Maori businesses and grow the Maori economy, Mr Potaka says. This is estimated to have reached around $37 billion.



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