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Ed Sheeran

Elias gave meaning to treaty principles

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Justice Minister Andrew Little says retiring Supreme Court Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias has made a huge contribution to the restoring the mana of the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand’s law and unwritten constitution.

Dame Sian and her successor Justice Helen Winkelmann along with the rest of the judiciary were given a special welcome on to the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi yesterday.

Mr Little says one of her first briefs as a lawyer was representing members of the group He Taua after they had confronted Auckland University Engineering Club members over a disrespectful mock haka.

She also acted for the late Nganeko Minhinnick in the Manukau Claim and for the New Zealand Māori Council in its landmark battles over fisheries and state owned lands.

"As she’s become a judge she has sat on a lot of decisions and advocated for the court system to properly respect the place of the treaty. When Acts of Parliament refer to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, she hasn't thrown up her hands and said 'we don't know what that means so we will ignore it.' She has said 'we have to find a meaning for that,' and she had done a huge amount to give meaning in the modern day to the place of the treaty in our overall constitution," Mr Little says.










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