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Deep listening needed for tikanga cases
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The organiser of a symposium on tikanga and the law says it’s an area where lawyers have to listen to their clients.

The invitation-only hui at Ōrākei Marae was co-hosted by law firm Chapman Tripp’s Te Waka Ture Māori unit and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.

Te Aopare Dewes from Te Waka Ture says while the possibility of using tikanga has been included in various laws for 30 years, the courts are still working out how to do that.

The speakers including academics, iwi claimants, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Supreme Court Justice Sir Joe Williams had insights about how that could be done, as well as warnings about letting Pākeha judges impose rigid definitions of Māori concepts.

"Everybody agreed what it came down to was whakapapa and whanaungatanga and it is incumbent on the lawyers acting for these iwi clients that disputes are resolved in an appropriate way and listening to their clients about how to do that," Ms Dewes says.

Chapman Tripp is acting for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in a case arguing the crown’s overlapping claims policy as it has been applied to central Auckland rides roughshod over tikanga and Māori values.

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