In early 2012, Kris Gledhill of the University of Auckland law school approached a group of old classmates and me with an idea: founding a human rights lawyers association for New Zealand. Most other Commonwealth countries have had a professional association of human rights lawyers for decades. The time had come for New Zealand to catch up.
The Aotearoa New Zealand Human Rights Lawyers Association aims to build a thriving network of lawyers with an interest in human rights with a view to encouraging meaningful discourse about human rights in New Zealand. We have between 100 and 150 members, including lawyers, law students, and legal academics.
The Association’s founding Annual General Meeting in 2012 elected me as Co-Chair – and I was re-elected at our 2013 and 2014 AGMs.
As Co-Chair, I have:
- Implemented the Association’s membership structure and helped to carve its niche in the profession;
- Coordinated the Association’s executive and advocacy team in drafting regular submissions and press releases;
- Forged lasting relationships with other key stakeholders, including the Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Foundation, New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice, Law for Change and the Equal Justice Project;
- Organised the largest public lecture hosted at the University of Auckland in over 12 months, by former Prime Minister and United Nations Development Project head Helen Clark;
- Commented on a number of human rights issues in the New Zealand media; and
- Led three high performing executive teams through significant change.