Two University appointments to Waitangi Tribunal

A Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington professor newly appointed to the Waitangi Tribunal sees the appointment as an "act of trust in the value of academic research".

Professor Susy Frankel, Chair of Intellectual Property and International Trade Law in the University’s Faculty of Law, is one of two people associated with the University whose appointment to the Tribunal was announced by Māori Development Minister Hon. Nanaia Mahuta.

The other is Dr Paul Hamer, a historian who is a Research Associate in the University’s Te Kawa a Māui—School of Māori Studies and a Principal Advisor in Māori Strategy and Partnerships at the Department of Corrections.

Professor Frankel and Dr Hamer will provide vital skills and experience, said the Minister.

“They are both highly regarded in their respective fields and will no doubt bring their wealth of expertise to the Tribunal.”

Professor Frankel has worked for many years in the realm of intellectual property, including protection of mātauranga Māori. Dr Hamer has extensive experience in the public sector, having worked for both the Tribunal and Te Puni Kōkiri—Ministry of Māori Development in various roles. He is also an expert on Māori migration to Australia.

The Tribunal is “a hugely important institution for many reasons, but in simple terms it often provides the lead on some of the most complex issues around how different viewpoints can learn to live and function effectively together”, says Professor Frankel.

She has worked for the Tribunal before as an expert and says: “It’s really special to be appointed. Not only is it obviously an honour, it’s an act of trust in the value of academic research that someone with my background and experience can be appointed to bring a different expertise to the Tribunal’s work.”

For Dr Hamer, “the Tribunal is a uniquely bicultural institution. It allows a light to be cast on government policy in a way no other body can, by setting that policy against the standards required by te Tiriti. It’s an important check on executive power because, although most of its powers are recommendatory only, its findings have great moral suasion.”

The appointments are for three years.