The 15th Biennial IAWJ Conference was an experience I am incredibly grateful to have been part of as an in-person scholarship recipient. During the conference I had the privilege of learning from strong women in positions of judicial leadership as well as forming connections with other delegates from throughout New Zealand.
The most moving part of the conference for me was the experience of being welcomed onto Orākei Marae on the first day. It was truly special to learn about the people of Ngāti Whatua and their journey while standing on the land that they have reclaimed. Given that my focus at University is on Land and Resource Management Law, this day aided greatly in increasing my understanding of the importance of the role of the court in relation to Māori land issues and the journey which still lies ahead.
After listening to the speakers over the course of the event, I was also left thinking about many small but important issues I had not yet considered. One of these was mentioned by Hon Irene Mambilima (Zambia) in response to a discussion around moving towards digital methods of administration of justice (such as online portals). Her remark about an online system potentially disadvantaging women and those living rurally was not something I had not previously contemplated. This left me wondering how we can develop effective future methods of administration so that we can keep up with technological changes without interfering with accessibility to justice for any group.
Overall, after spending the weekend meeting other students and law makers from all backgrounds, I was inspired by the possibilities for the future. The conference opened my eyes to the very real issues faced by many women around the world and the importance of continuing to fight for equality on all levels.
I want to sincerely thank the NZAWJ for awarding me the scholarship and the Borrin Foundation for funding it. The IAWJ conference was a truly invaluable experience that I will take with me on my future legal journey.
Student at the University of Canterbury