Ayla Naidoo

I would like to thank and express my gratitude to the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation, Justice Glazebrook, and all those who blessed us with the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the IAWJ. I remember citing Justice Glazebrook in my Law and Indigenous Peoples Paper, feeling inspired by her phenomenal contributions to the world of law, and thinking wow- change is possible, and change can happen.

As a law student- we can get despondent by thinking of the law as it stands as it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. However, by attending the Conference- I found a new sense of hope in hearing of all the changes being made in the International Judiciary. It was an honour and a privilege to meet and be in the presence of outstanding Women leaders. I would also like to thank Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei for welcoming us onto your whenua as the manuhiri and for sharing your history and future endeavours for us, and for the discussion of Indigenous Issues in Aotearoa. It was beautiful to be part of the pōhiri, and I tautoko the kōrero that took place.

I resonated with the transformative justice model for the New Zealand District Court as proposed by Hon. Heemi Taunaunu, as we all work towards Te Ao Mārama/ The World of Light. I enjoyed Associate Professor Claire Charters UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the constitutional issues presentation, as it was amazing to hear first-hand from someone who was a part of the drafting process. 

I also loved hearing from The Inspirational Young New Zealanders- the rising generation of leaders, covering; Climate Change, Disability Rights, Identity and Shifting Perspectives- and leaving us with sentiments of empathy and a deeper sense of understanding. It was enlightening hearing about the alternative court systems in the different countries as well, knowing that there are other options available. 

It was heart-warming to hear stories of how Indigenous Womens rights are being honoured. My passion is in human rights, so hearing Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein speak to them, was aweinspiring and made me think about how I could add to the human rights scene. I had a conversation with president of the Law Society- Tiana Epati, and was moved by her delight with the recent decision to incorporate tikanga in the teaching of law. Her joy and passion was infectious and I felt an enormous sense of warmth sharing this with her. 

Chief-Justice Helen Winkelmann powerfully said we need a judiciary that is reflective of everyone in our society, and I will take this message away with me. 

Overall from the Conference I took away such meaningful experiences which I will hold dearly and will always carry with me. Being a part of such profound discussions inspired me to think about what contribution I would like to make to the world of law, and I can’t wait to get started. A heartfelt thank you from me to you. 

Ayla Naidoo