Māori lawyers from across New Zealand celebrated the 30th anniversary of the New Zealand Māori Law Society in Rotorua.

The Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa (New Zealand Māori Law Society) launched its hui-a-tau with a pōhiri at Tangatarua Marae at Toi Ohomai's Mokoia campus on Thursday.

Executive director of strategic partnerships and Māori success Ana Morrison said Toi Ohomai was honoured to share in the celebration of the 30-year anniversary.

"Earlier this week, we had leading entrepreneurs, business thought-leaders and academics discussing how to build strong relevant connections between the business world and researcher community.

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The late John Chadwick was posthumously honoured at the New Zealand Māori Law Society 30th Anniversary. Photo / Supplied
The late John Chadwick was posthumously honoured at the New Zealand Māori Law Society 30th Anniversary. Photo / Supplied

"And now, we have some of the sharpest legal minds in the country at our marae, Tangatarua."

Morrison said Toi Ohomai was keen to support professional endeavours that would pave the way for the better future for the region, its communities and the Māori economy.

"We support the legal profession through our high-quality legal executive, conveyancing, finance and practice management graduates, and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to directly strengthen our relationship with legal practitioners."

The hui-a-tau was a two-day event and featured more than 40 speakers on a range of practical topics, as well as discussions on the development of Te Hunga Rōia and issues facing the legal profession.

It was opened on Friday morning by judge of the Court of Appeal Justice Joe Williams who set the theme for the hui-a-tau: Ka Kuhu au kit e ture, hei matua mot e pani – I seek refuge in the law, for it is a parent to the oppressed.

The hui was then closed on Saturday by renowned lawyer Moana Jackson, who reflected on the past 30 years of Māori legal excellence while laying down a wero (challenge) for future generations in his Dreams from a Garage speech.

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Te Hunga Rōia was formed at a meeting at Rotorua in 1988 and this year's hui-a-tau marks the 30th anniversary since its inception. The group was started in the late John Chadwick's garage.

Chadwick received a special honour posthumously for his contribution to the society.

To commemorate the anniversary, four awards were presented at the conference dinner for Community Contribution, Te Pae Tata and Matiu Dickson Award for Te Reo and Tikanga Māori.