Season-Mary Downs

Director, Tukau Law and Consultancy - Northland, New Zealand

Key Info

Te Kapotai, Ngati Hine, Ngapuhi

  • Bachelor of Māori and Pacific Development
  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws
  • Master of Laws in Māori/Pacific and Indigenous Peoples' Law
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Law
  • Law
  • Te Reo Māori
  • Māori

Season-Mary has wanted to help her community long before she started her journey by studying a conjoint Law and Arts degree in and then completing a Master of Laws and PhD in Law. She says her motivation to keep studying was driven by a desire to address issues within the community. “I am loyal to Waikato. I came back to pursue a PhD because I knew I would have the University’s support.”

Season-Mary and others launched Tukau Law and Consultancy in the Bay of Islands, a firm that focusses on Māori legal issues. "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."

As well as being a director, Season-Mary runs a social enterprise and a community fund. The dedication to the cause means that she hasn'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. No two days are the same but every day is dynamic."

Season-Mary has advice for future students. "If you’re passionate then you will definitely make a difference. Go for it and follow your heart. 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."

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