Dr Robert Joseph - Senior Lecturer
LLB LLM PhD Waikato
Dr Joseph completed his Bachelor and Master of Laws degrees at Waikato and was admitted to the Bar in 1998. He is a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and was a senior research fellow for the Te Mātāhauariki Research Institute at the University of Waikato under the leadership of Judge Michael Brown and Dr Alex Frame. Dr Robert Joseph was the second Māori in New Zealand - and the first Māori male - to graduate with a PhD in Law in 2006.
Robert's research interests are many and varied: the realisation of the Treaty of Waitangi rights and responsibilities, the interface of traditional Māori knowledge systems and western science; internal self-determination rights and responsibilities of Indigenous institutions; Canadian and North American Indigenous studies; treaty processes and post-settlement development; dispute resolution processes, particularly with respect to resolving disputes between different cultures; and Māori and Indigenous Peoples' governance in settler nation-states. He is currently writing a biography of his paternal tupuna (ancestors), who fought at the famous 1864 Battle of Orakau during the Waikato Wars.
Dr Joseph has been consulted on a number of reports for several organisations including the New Zealand Law Commission, the New Zealand branch of the NGO Transparency International, Te Puni Kōkiri - the Ministry of Māori Development, the Northland Police, and the Ngā Manga Pūriri Trust. Dr Joseph was on the committee to investigate restructuring Waikato-Tainui's post-treaty settlement self governance model - Te Kauhanganui o Waikato Inc., he has visited the Institute for Governance in Canada, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, and the National Centre for First Nations Governance also in Canada, and he is also a researcher for the Pro-Vice Chancellor Māori Office at the University of Waikato.
Dr Joseph is the New Zealand representative on the executive for the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand (ACSANZ), chair of the Awhina Trust addressing Māori mental health in the Waikato and Northland regions, an advisory trustee of the Kia Ngawari Trust, and the Te Hurihanga Youth Horizons Trust addressing local Māori juvenile delinquency challenges.
Robert has travelled extensively throughout Canada and the United States to meet with Aboriginal people as part of his research on Indigenous self-governance models and contemporary treaty settlements. In Canada, he looked specifically at First Nations governance, customary laws and traditional institutions, contemporary treaties, and options for addressing historic injustices through reconciliatory justice.