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Te Roopu Whai Putake inspire at national hui

Tuesday 24 September 2019 10:00pm

Te-Roopū-Whai-Putake-image
Members of Te Roopu Whai Putake and alumni in Wellington during the annual hui-ā-tau for Te Hunga Roia Māori o Aotearoa, a network for Māori lawyers throughout the country.

There has been plenty of praise for the University of Otago’s Māori law student association after their performances at a national conference in Wellington.

Te Roopu Whai Putake attended the annual hui-ā-tau for Te Hunga Roia Māori o Aotearoa, a network for Māori lawyers throughout the country.

Among the highlights for the group was a stunning performance in the kapa haka bracket on Friday night. Nerys Udy, who represented the University in the national Māori Kaupapa Māori Moot final. The competition was performed in the Supreme Court before a bench of five judges, including Justice Joe Williams, the first Māori Supreme Court Justice.

Otago Law alumni Alice Anderson (Ngāi Tahu), a former Te Hunga Roia executive and Te Roopu Whai Putake President, says she felt an overwhelming sense of pride.

"They absolutely blew everyone away with their passion, their kupu, some of which they composed themselves, and their pure talent during the performance."

“They absolutely blew everyone away with their passion, their kupu, some of which they composed themselves, and their pure talent during the performance,” she says.

“I was sat with a number of alumni who were bursting with pride for Te Roopu Whai Putake, not only for their kapa haka efforts but also the way they conducted themselves for the entire hui.”

Ms Udy’s performance caught the eye of Ms Anderson, who now works as a Senior Solicitor at McCaw Lewis in the Waikato region.

“[Ms Udy] made excellent arguments and kept very composed considering she was stood in the Supreme Court of New Zealand in front of the first Māori Supreme Court Justice.”

Otago Faculty of Law Professor Jacinta Ruru was part of a panel featuring former Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei, AUT University senior law lecturer Associate Professor Khylee Quince and Senior Lecturer from Victoria University Dr Carwyn Jones on inspiring new models of indigenous legal education.

Faculty of Law Dean Professor Jessica Palmer says the hu-ā-tau is a great opportunity for our tauira to be inspired by lawyers, judges and other law students from throughout Aotearoa.

“It is always good to see them on their return excited about their law studies and confident that they have so much to contribute. We are really proud of them for how well they represented Otago.”

The hui were first held in 1988 taking place in a Rotorua garage. In 2018, the hui-ā-tau returned to Rotorua for the 30th anniversary. The University of Otago hosted the conference in 2002.