Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Maori Land Court

I have just spent a day in the Maori Land Court in Rotorua. Because of a shortage of space we were moved to the District Court for the hearing, and ended up in a jury trial court room. Many of the supporters ( well 12 anyway) ended up in the jury box and the rest were crammed into the back. The court was adequate for the lawyers, but in the Maori Land Court, it is usual for families to appear and support (or oppose) the matters being heard. The Mari Land Court it self was renovated recently, and is a wonderful courtroom, with both traditional and modern Maori themes,with much native timber, in a warm and welcoming space. The court has been given more jurisdiction, which means more work, and I hope that the court will be properly resourced. They have a good start, but cannot be treated like a poor relation of the other civil courts. There is competition for the tax dollar but the Te Tiriti principles mean that both streams of jurisdiction should have equal resources. if this means more court rooms of adequate size, then that is what should be provided. The court staff do what they can, but the issue needs attention at a higher level.

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