Judge, Māori Land Court
When University of Waikato law alumnus Aidan Warren was five years old, he sat on the knee of his koro who gave him some advice, “When you grow up, become a lawyer to help our people.”. Aidan says, "I don’t know what it was, but he saw something in me and his advice stuck with me.”
In October 2021, Judge Aidan Warren was sworn in to the Māori Land Court and the vision of his koro was fulfilled.
“I’m glad that I chose to study at Waikato because of the bicultural focus and the relaxed atmosphere. We had great mentors and Māori staff,” says Aidan. “The University’s motto ‘Ko Te Tangata – For the People’ is what I took away. We learned law in context; it was people focused and reflective of our community and that has been a big part of my practice.”
After completing his degree, Aidan joined McCaw Lewis Lawyers in Hamilton where he worked for 21 years. He gained a reputation as a strong mediator and facilitator of disputes which allowed his clients to negotiate settlement without using the court system.
Aidan is aware of the work ahead of him. “I want this court to lead indigenous alternative dispute resolution mahi across the world. We need to ensure there is a tikanga-based process and allow for one person’s tikanga to be different to another person’s. There is a lot of work to be done in that area and I am keen to be heavily involved in leading it.”
Aidan’s advice to the next generation of tertiary students is to take time to learn te reo Māori me onā tikanga tikanga. “Waikato University is the best place in the world at a tertiary level to be able to nail those things. That’s one thing I would encourage people to do, and it’s something I wish I did with a lot more vigour.”
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