Student profiles

Harry Baker

Student, Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in Education and Pacific Studies


I was initially attracted to law because of its challenging nature, and the skills it can provide in the workforce. I would like to see more Pasifika people in law. It can be tough, but law provides unique skills and knowledge to make a real difference in our communities.

Choosing Victoria University of Wellington was an easy decision. We are at the centre of government and the heart of New Zealand.

Through my studies, I’ve met people from across the country, including some of the most talented and driven Māori and Pasifika people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Helpful Māori lecturers such as Associate Professor Māmari Stephens and people such as Izzy Wilson (the Law School’s Māori engagement adviser) and Purcell Sali (the Law School’s Pasifika engagement adviser) provide important support. Studying and working alongside such bright, kind, and helpful people inspires me to continue to improve myself.

Studying Law will challenge you every step of the way, particularly if you haven’t been fully integrated into our Pākehā education system and structures. If you can manoeuvre through this system, the rewards are worth it. The skills and knowledge I have gained through studying Law provided me with the opportunity to be placed in a Pasifika government-policy internship programme called Tupu Tai. This internship improved my writing and research skills, allowing me to excel in assisting my team’s work and in producing a research paper on privacy law.

My studies have opened my mind to the systems that discriminate and disadvantage Māori and Pasifika, and the many issues with how the Government and its systems operate—and to some ideas about how these issues can be addressed and resolved. When I finish my degrees, I’m interested in working in government policy, particularly education. I’d like to focus on improving education outcomes for Māori and Pasifika. I might go on to do a Master’s degree in that area one day.

Mason Lawlor

Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Maru

Student, Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in Māori Studies


I had an interest in law and how it relates to Māori, so I decided to follow my curiosity and study law. I chose Victoria University of Wellington because it is at the epicentre of Māori relations with the Government and the Crown.

One of my favourite lecturers is Associate Professor Dean Knight—he’s really funny and always gets really involved with the class, which makes me want to listen and engage. A highlight from my first year was Associate Professor Grant Morris, one of my lecturers, writing and performing a song in his end of trimester lecture.

A lot of what I have learnt so far has not only been from the staff, but also from other students. There are numerous student groups here that are able to help you if you need it. I’m involved with Ngā Rangahautira (Māori Law Students’ Association) and Ngāi Tauira (Māori Students’ Association). They are both a second home while

I am at university and have been so welcoming. I always hear of job opportunities through Ngā Rangahautira and the Jedi herself, Izzy Wilson (the Law School’s Māori engagement adviser).

I love my reo Māori, and the Māori world that surrounds it. I’ve really enjoyed being able to have my Māori classes at our marae, Te Herenga Waka. In the future, I want to work for one of my iwi corporations or be an academic in te reo.

My advice to new students is to say yes to every opportunity you can, whether it’s small or big. It’s all worth it in the end, and you will really get places by saying yes. Being ‘capital thinking’ and ‘globally minded’ means taking what we learn here at the University and applying it to whatever we do. It means being able to open our minds up to the wider world and having the tools to succeed.

Celina Monkhouse

Student, Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in History and Classics


I’ve always wanted to make a palpable difference in the world. Law attracted me as it allows us to understand the system that underlines the way we live. Being interested in writing made it an even better option.

The LLB is such a versatile degree. I don’t necessarily want to be a practising lawyer, but I still enjoy studying for a Law degree. It gives you lots of useful skills. I am also involved with some of the student groups at the Law School—I particularly like groups that combine law with other current and pressing issues, such as the environment.

I liked Victoria University of Wellington when I came to visit for the open day, and I really liked Wellington as a city. It made sense to study law in the city where the most legislative activity occurs.

I’ve found it very rewarding to build my understanding of how New Zealand’s legal system works, as I had no knowledge of this before. I’ve learnt about the injustices this system promotes, while also appreciating how it helps maintain an equitable society. Law has helped me think more deeply about the complexity of the world.

So far, my favourite subjects are Criminal Law (LAWS 214) and Bill of Rights (LAWS 331). I am very interested in human rights and criminal justice issues, so I found these courses particularly engaging and in line with what I want to be doing in the future. I also really liked how they were taught, and the lecturers who taught them—I always enjoy being taught by strong and intelligent women!