Why we need a constitution accommodating Māori rights

New Zealand is one of the only countries in the world with an unwritten constitution under which legislation can pass in breach of human rights. It has often done so, historically and even recently, especially with respect to Māori.

Claire argues that New Zealand needs a written constitution recognising iwi rangatiratanga and the rights of indigenous peoples. She will illustrate why, despite popular belief, creating a system that aligns with Māori philosophy does not discriminate against non-Māori. Claire says it is jarring to hear that Māori rights are discriminatory to non-Māori after almost a century-and-a-half of political under-representation, loss of land and Treaty of Waitangi breaches. For there to be equality, there needs to be recognition of Māori rangatiratanga and the application of tikanga Māori in appropriate cases.


Dr Claire Charters is an associate professor at the University of Auckland Law School. Claire’s primary area of research is in indigenous peoples’ rights in international and constitutional law, often with a comparative focus.  She has worked extensively on indigenous peoples' rights at an international level, including for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and as an advisor to the United Nations President of the General Assembly.

6:30pm @Little Creatures Summer Pop Up, 16 Fort Street Auckland 1010

Also speaking at this location at 8:00pm is Barbara Plester.