Dr Robert A Joseph

Robert Joseph

Senior Lecturer, Research Centre Director MIG (Law)

Qualifications: LLB LLM PhD Waikato

Iwi: Tainui, Tuwharetoa, Kahungunu, Rangitane, Ngai Tahu

About Robert

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 Joseph completed a PhD in Law in 2006.

Papers Taught

Research Supervised

Dr Joseph is currently supervising PhD and LLM candidates. He welcomes applicants for doctoral and graduate supervision in any subject within his areas of expertise.

Research Interests

  • Maori and indigenous law
  • Treaty of Waitangi
  • Māori governance

Dr Joseph's research interests are varied: the realisation of the Treaty of Waitangi rights and responsibilities; internal self-determination rights and responsibilities of Indigenous groups; Māori and Indigenous Peoples' excellent governance best practices, structures and principles that result in and transformative governance; Canadian and North American Indigenous studies; Treaty processes and post-settlement development; appropriate dispute resolution, particularly with respect to resolving disputes between different cultures; and excellent Māori governance training.

Current Research Projects

Dr Joseph is currently writing a biography of his paternal tupuna (ancestors), who fought at the famous 1864 Battle of Orakau during the Waikato Wars.

Recent Publications

  • Ruru, J., Turei, M., Jones, C., Quince, K., Charters, C., Erueti, A., . . . Bright, R. (2020). Inspiring national indigenous legal education for Aotearoa New Zealand's Bachelor of Laws Degree: Phase One. University of Otago: Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation, Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga. Retrieved from

  • Joseph, R., Rakena, M., Te Kuini Jones, M., Takuira, J., Te Tai, M., & Rakena, C. (2020). Stemming the colonial environmental tide - Shared Māori governance jurisdiction and ecosystem-based management over the marine and coastal seascape in Aotearoa New Zealand – Possible ways forward. Waikato University,: Waikato Print. Retrieved from

  • Joseph, R. (2019). The Lord Will Not Forget Them! Māori Seers and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand. In T. Vaggalis, & D. Peterson (Eds.), Remembrance and Return Essays in Honor of Louis C. Midgley (pp. 323-363). Orem, UItah: Interpreter Foundation. Retrieved from

  • Joseph, R., Rakena, M., Jones, M. T. K., Sterling, R., & Rakena, C. (2019). The Treaty, Tikanga Māori, ecosystem-based management, mainstream law and power sharing for environmental integrity in Aotearoa New Zealand – possible ways forward. Hamilton: Waikato Print, University of Waikato, National Science Challenge Sustainable Seas. Retrieved from

Find more research publications by Robert Joseph


History; Indigenous Rights; International Relations; Law; Maori; Maori Culture/Tikanga; Maori Development; Maori Governance; Maori History; Maori Identity; Maori Land and Community; Maori Legal Issues; Maori Research; New Zealand History; New Zealand Politics; Religion; Resource Management; Restorative Practices; Treaty of Waitangi