Cynthia Hamel

Cynthia Hamel

Bachelor of Laws with Honours (Law)

Te Piringa - Faculty of Law

I was born and raised in Tokoroa. At the time of finishing school, I did not think that a university degree was for me. I spent many years working in the service industry and doing office work. After a number of years overseas, I returned to New Zealand in 2012, determined to go back to the classroom.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Diploma in Law was the right choice for me.

As a single parent of two children, it was vital to the success of my first two years to complete the diploma on my doorstep. The programme provided me enough flexibility so that I was able to complete all my elective papers in my first year and focus on the core subjects in my second year. That, ultimately, allowed me to earn entry into the degree honours programme.

I chose to study law at Te Piringa – Faculty of Law because of the Faculty’s focus on Māori and indigenous issues. In two years, I learnt more about my peoples’ history, struggles and tenacity than I ever knew previously. This inspired me to get involved in Māori issues.

What has been hugely important for me was to develop rapport with other students and to have regular study group sessions. There were a few of us law students travelling to Hamilton from Tauranga. These mobile study sessions have been invaluable for me in building relationships and learning from each other.

I am looking forward to completing my law degree in 2016.

In my professional path I would like to be involved in post Treaty settlements and land retention as well as in criminal or restorative justice to aid in reducing over-representation of Māori in prisons.

I believe a law degree offers me many career options and I am excited about my future whether I choose to practice in a legal firm, the courtroom or another organization. I know my degree will have set me on a path like no other.


University of Waikato Māori Excellence Award

Ngāpuhi Scholarship

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