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Introduction and dedication to Matiu Dickson

This edition of the Waikato Law Review is dedicated to our dear friend and colleague, Matiu Dickson, and we thank Judge Craig Coxhead for his wonderful tribute to Matiu. The morning of the 7th of April 2016 will forever be imprinted in our minds and hearts. Matiu passed away that morning having just delivered the final speech in the opening ceremony for our new Law Building here at Waikato University. It was said at his tangi that this was a high price to be paid for such a building. A price that we would never have chosen to pay. That price brings an obligation to honour and respect the legacy that Matiu has left us, his commitment to the Faculty’s founding goals and, in particular, the promotion of a bicultural legal education for Māori and non-Māori alike; that tikanga is recognised as the first law of Aotearoa New Zealand and continues to form a central part of our curriculum. Matiu personified the bicultural mission of Te Piringa Faculty of Law; that, through its curriculum, research activities and its structures, the Faculty would be the forefront of the development of a bicultural legal philosophy. Matiu worked hard to ensure this mission remained a stated goal of the Faculty and to give it meaning over his 20 year tenure. He constantly worked to infuse it into the structures and processes of this Law Faculty. He worked and campaigned for years, and successfully so, to make sure the name gifted to the Faculty by Dame Te Atairangikaahu at its founding, “Te Piringa”, became our Faculty’s officially recognised name. He was passionate about the use of te reo Māori in assessment. He encouraged and facilitated the use of te reo Māori mooting. It was our colleague, Ani Mikaere, who, during her time here as a legal academic, first publicly articulated tikanga Māori as the first law of Aotearoa. Through the years, Matiu and our academic colleagues, including Stephanie Milroy, Craig Coxhead, Caren Fox (all now Māori Land Court judges), Leah Whiu, Harata Paterson, Nan Seuffert, Ruth Bush, Wayne Rumbles, Robert Joseph, Valmaine Toki and ourselves, reaffirmed tikanga as the first law of Aotearoa in our teaching and research. Years later, the article “Lex Aotearoa: An Heroic Attempt to Map the Māori Dimension in Modern New Zealand Law” by Justice Joseph Williams2 developed the idea further and is currently the leading piece on the weaving of tikanga and Anglo-New Zealand law.3 Matiu Dickson was an expert in tikanga, the first law of Aotearoa. He lived it every day. He created and taught courses on it and made sure it was integrated throughout the curriculum. In Matiu’s honour, it is entirely appropriate that there are a number of contributions in this Review that have a Māori or Indigenous theme, and we hope future issues will likewise assure such a balance.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Te Aho, L., & Morgan, G. (2016). Introduction and dedication to Matiu Dickson. Waikato Law Review, 24.
University of Waikato
This article has been published in the journal: Waikato Law Review: Taumauri. Used with permission.