Master of Laws (Law)
Te Piringa - Faculty of Law
Recent developments in Treaty settlements, Maori governance and indigenous development are the focus for Waikato University masters student Willow-Jean Prime. She studied for her Bachelor of Laws at Waikato and after working in Wellington for three and a half years is now back studying and self-employed working on various whanau, hapu and iwi projects and Treaty claims.
She's Te Kapotai, Ngati Hine and Ngapuhi and it's for them she's decided to return to study. "It's important to keep learning and to keep abreast of political, legal and economic changes as well as cultural trends. I've decided I can make a better contribution if I upskill."
Willow Jean says Maori and indigenous development is her passion. Her undergraduate degrees (BA/LLB) were in Te Reo and Maori development and law, and she also has a Graduate Diploma in Maori and Pacific Development.
"That combination has equipped me with a kete of skills to be able to contribute meaningfully to the positive development of my whanau, hapu and iwi. The challenge for me, and others working in this area, is to keep learning." She is confident walking in both worlds – Maori and Pakeha. "I'm inspired by the dedicated and committed people who've gone before me. We have to ensure that future generations of Maori are provided for spiritually, culturally, environmentally and economically. I'm not afraid of a challenge."
Willow-Jean was awarded the Waikato University law School Haggie Scholarship, worth $5,000 and given to the most deserving Maori Masters student in the school in 2009. "That was a bonus – I've given up a good and steady income to study and I still have a student loan to repay. I'm honoured to receive the scholarship because Kamira Henry (Binga) Haggie was the law school's founding kaumatua – an important figure in the early history of the school and his wife Elizabeth is the school's kuia."
Most Deserving Maori Masters student in the school in 2009