Graduate Diploma, Master of Laws (Development Studies, Law, Maori, Māori and Pacific Development, Māori Language/Te Reo Māori, Māori and Indigenous Studies)
Te Piringa - Faculty of Law
Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies
From sitting on a school bus in Moerewa, Northland, to sitting in Parliament next to fellow Waikato Alumni, Jacinda Ardern, Willow-Jean Prime has come a long way.
She's Te Kapotai, Ngati Hine and Ngapuhi and it's for them that she decided to return to study. "It's important to keep learning and to keep abreast of political, legal and economic changes as well as cultural trends. I decided I could make a better contribution if I upskilled."
Recent developments in Treaty settlements, Māori governance and Indigenous development were the focus for her masters. In her role in Parliament, Willow-Jean is implementing those skills to affect change. In her maiden speech, Willow-Jean threw down the mantel to her fellow members. "Empty words. That is something I am not here to indulge in. I am here with a purpose. I know who I represent. I am proudly bicultural. I am proudly bilingual. I am here to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It is who we are. It is all of us."
Willow Jean says Māori and Indigenous development is her passion. Her undergraduate degrees (BA/LLB) were in Law from Faculty of Laws, and in Te Reo and Māori development from the Faculty of Māori & Indigenous Studies. She went on to gain a Graduate Diploma in Māori and Indigenous Studies as well.
"That combination has equipped me with a kete of skills to be able to contribute meaningfully to the positive development of my whānau, hapū and iwi. The challenge for me, and others working in this area, is to keep learning."
She is confident walking in both worlds – Māori and Pakeha. "I'm inspired by the dedicated and committed people who've gone before me. We have to ensure that future generations of Māori are provided for spiritually, culturally, environmentally and economically. I'm not afraid of a challenge."
Most Deserving Maori Masters student in the school in 2009
In 2017 Willow-Jean entered Parliament with the Labour Party.