How to live a legacy

30 November 2018

Season-Mary Downs (right) and sister Willow-Jean Prime (left).

From managing media enquiries for her sister (Labour MP Willow-Jean Prime) to running a law firm, social enterprise and community fund, it’s no wonder Season-Mary Downs hasn’t watched TV in over a decade.

Waikato PhD student Season-Mary has wanted to help her community long before starting a conjoint Law and Arts degree in 2008 and it’s the reason she has returned to study twice since. She says her motivation to keep studying was driven by a desire to address issues within the community. “My sister and I are loyal to Waikato. We came back to pursue PhDs here because we knew that we would have the University’s support.”

Since returning to the Bay of Islands, Season-Mary launched Tukau Law and Consultancy, a firm that focusses on Māori legal issues. Season-Mary also works to empower the Southern Bay of Islands community through community fund and social enterprise Tukau Legacy.

What does the award you received from the Māori Law Association mean to you?

It was an honour to be acknowledged for the work that I do outside of my law firm. It’s really nice to be recognised by the senior members of the association as well.

What inspired you to start Tukau Law and Consultancy?

We wanted to focus on law relating to treaty claims processes. The University’s Faculty of Law was a large influence on our emphasis on the treaty claims process, because we had lecturers who teach very bi-cultural and diverse law, like Linda Te Aho.

And how about your clothing line Tukau Legacy?

Through our work in law we speak with a lot of elders who know the history of these lands and their people, so the text on our clothing represents those stories. The clothing line is designed to empower people, and any proceeds go back to the Tukau Community Fund. We’re currently working on setting up a clothing store in Kawakawa, which will be open over the summer.

You run a law firm, social enterprise and a community fund. This sounds very full-on. What does a typical day look like for you?

Well, I haven’t watched TV in over a decade – if you’re passionate then there are sometimes sacrifices. I wake up before 6.30 and respond to emails before helping my two nieces get ready for school. My business partner and best friend Chelsea and I go get coffee and start doing admin and planning. I work until late in the night, with breaks for exercise and meals. Amongst this all, I fit in some study for my PhD. No two days are the same but every day is dynamic.

What made you return to study a PhD at Waikato?

There are still a lot of issues in our country and more thorough research is needed. I believe the University of Waikato is where I get the best support for this research.

While you were studying your conjoint undergraduate degree, did you have an idea what you wanted to achieve after graduating?

Definitely. I always knew I wanted to make a difference to the community so studying towards a law degree was the best way I could see to help. It’s a privilege to be able to use my law degree and the knowledge I’ve gained to help the community.

Any advice for someone looking to start a social enterprise?

If you’re passionate then you will definitely make a difference. Go for it and follow your heart!

Latest stories

Related stories

Dr Tangiwai Rewi

Waikato alumna to lead Māori & Indigenous Studies

The University of Waikato’s Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao, Faculty of Māori and Indigenous…

Raukokore Marine Research

Waikato supports Raukōkore Marine Research Centre opening

The Raukōkore Marine Research Centre has officially opened, providing a crucial research base for the…

Damien Puddle

Writing the play book for Councils across the country

Known to his colleagues as Dr Play, Waikato Health and Sport PhD alumnus Damien Puddle…

Leilani Tuala-Warren and Unaisi Narawa

Double appointment at Waikato a “landmark moment” for New Zealand as a Pacific nation

Two new appointments at the University of Waikato, including New Zealand's first Pacific woman to…

From Germany to New Zealand for a semester abroad

Like many of our study abroad and exchange students, Ann-Katrin Nolte was attracted to New…

Three generations of Dr Ritchies

Pioneering Psychology Professor leaves peaceful parenting legacy

The University of Waikato sadly acknowledges the passing of Emeritus Professor Jane Ritchie OBE, at…

Approach with caution: why NZ should be wary of buying into the AUKUS security pact

As the strategic rivalry between the United States and China intensifies, the invitation to discuss…

Graduates at Te Kohinga Mārama Marae on Monday.

A week of celebration for Waikato graduates

It’s graduation week at the University of Waikato – and that means four days of…

Rhythm and resilience: A deputy principal’s inspiring journey to success

A talented dancer and performer, Caroline Gill has had a long history with the University…

Jackson Mason-Mackey

Alumnus making his mark on the world in the humanitarian sector

Not many people can say they’ve worked in Mozambique, Italy, Afghanistan and Colombia, but Jackson…

A group of people stand outside the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at the 50th anniversary celebrations for the School of Psychology postgraduate clinical and behavioural psychology diplomas.

Saving lives: Psychology programmes celebrate 50 years

More than 85 people gathered to celebrate the University of Waikato’s School of Psychology on…

Ally Wollaston with a gold medal at the UCI Nations Cup track competition in Jakarta.

Three golds for cyclist Ally Wollaston

University of Waikato law student and Hillary Scholar Ally Wollaston has returned to New Zealand…