Law and Culture: Pacific Law and New Zealand/Aotearoa
Over the mid semester break a handful of students attended Law and Culture: Pacific Law and New Zealand/Aotearoa. This conference was the continuation of a joint venture initiated by Professor John Dawson of the University of Otago Faculty of Law and Anita Jowitt of the University of South Pacific who graduated from the University of Otago with an honours degree in law. The small exchange that begun some 6 years ago has come to be an annual event that may head across the ditch with the University of New South Wales keen to play host next year. The students in attendance were Devon Latoa, Tom English, Hans To'o, Mikayla Zandstra and Matt Dodd, with Professor Dawson carrying the flag for the staff.
The annual mooting competition between the University of Otago team and the University of South Pacific Emalus Campus team was a highlight of the conference. Both teams put forward strong submissions, which were supported by strategic thinking and question responses while under pressure. Thankfully the Otago team of Tom English, Hans To'o and Mikayla Zandstra made up for last year's loss and the trophy returned to its rightful home. The judges had high praises to sing about both student teams and even went as far as to compare one young advocate to the highly respected Barack Obama. It is hoped that the advocacy skills on display will continue to be sharpened and may assist the minority Pacific communities in the future.
Maori and Pacific Islands Legal Issues Week
Congratulations and commendations to the Te Roopu Whai Putake and the Pacific Islands Law Students Association, who hosted the very successful and interesting Maori and Pacific Islands Week.
The theme of the week was "Looking to the Future - Legal Issues in the 21 Century". A challenge was to ensure that recognition was given to the separate experiences of Maori and Pacific Islands peoples despite the week's events being cojoined. The students worked collaboratively to ensure that relevant issues were effectively profiled.
There was an impressive list of eminent speakers including Metiria Turei, Judge Craig Coxhead, and Sir Tipene O'Regan, who spoke on constitutional issues, as well as a panel of family law practitioners who spoke on domestic violence issues.
Interspersed with the lectures were a quiz night, a PILSA/PHIPSA debate, food and drinks, and a Marae trip on the weekend.
The week provided a fresh perspective on various issues that are of importance to Maori and Pacific Islands Communities and from an observers perspective it seems we are lucky to have young people amongst our law students who can build on the wisdom of their elders, learn from the past and look forward to building a more equitable future for our communities.
Alice Marsh volunteering in Tanzania
It is wonderful to hear stories about our students who enjoy trying to make the world a better place.
Alice Marsh, an Otago law and nueroscience student, has just returned from Tanzania where she volunteered at a locally operated non-government organisation, teaching orphans English and basic science and looking after the 20 children housed on site.
Read more at the Otago Daily Times story.
Congratulations to Peter Skegg
Congratulations to Professor Peter Skegg who has become a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
Peter is a much respected and admired senior staff member at the Faculty of Law.
Read the Otago Daily Times story.
Donna Buckingham President of Otago District Law Society
Congratulations to Associate Professor Donna Buckingham who is now the President of the Otago District Law Society.
Donna does outstanding work, including behind the scenes, and should be credited for her commitment and contributions to the legal profession.
Professor Paul Roth invited onto OECD Expert Group Reviewing Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data
Professor Paul Roth was recently invited on to the OECD Expert Group that is reviewing the 1980 OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data. New Zealand's Privacy Act 1993 was enacted in part to promote and protect privacy in accordance with the OECD Guidelines.
The OECD Expert Group is comprised of OECD officials and privacy commissioners and academics from around the world. Jennifer Stoddart, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, chairs the grou The function of the Expert Group is to provide recommendations to the OECD Working Party on Information Security and Privacy (WPISP). The WPISP meets twice a year, bringing together delegations from the 34 OECD member governments, the European Union, observer countries, observer organisations (Council of Europe, International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners), and representatives from business, civil society, and the Internet technical Community.
The review of the OECD Guidelines arises out of the Seoul Declaration for the Future of the Internet Economy, which was adopted by OECD Ministers in June 2008. The Seoul Declaration calls for the OECD to assess the application of certain instruments, including the OECD Guidelines, in light of "changing technologies, markets and user behaviour and the growing importance of digital identities".
Paul has recently had his latest book Access to Information by Graham Taylor and Paul Roth, published by LexisNexis NZ Ltd.
Kent Gardner wins New Zealander of the Year Award
Congratulations to Kent Gardner who recieved the New Zealander of the Year Award in London recently. Kent received the award at the Waitangi Day charity dinner at the Plaisterers' Hall.
Kent was born and bred in Dunedin and holds commerce and law degrees from the University of Otago.
He has been most supportive of the Canterbury earthquake victims. Last May, he organised Step Up 4 Christchurch, a charity stair run up London's distinctive Gherkin building, which raised about 325,000 ($NZ619,000).