Today a special court hearing is taking place at Ngaa Tai e Rua Marae, where many have gathered to witness the swearing-in of Judge Terena Marahi Wara (Waikato, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga) to the Māori Land Court.
Judge Wara will undertake her oath under the mahau of her wharenui and with the support of local hapū, Ngāti Tiipa and Ngāti Āmaru.
As a director and founding member of Tūpono Legal Limited, based in Rotorua, she has extensive experience in the Māori Land Court and at the Waitangi Tribunal. In 2006 she was admitted to the bar after graduating LLB(Hons) from the University of Waikato.
Judge Wara will be the twelfth member of the bench and will join the ranks of Chief Judge Wilson Issac, Deputy Chief Judge Caren Fox, former Judge Glendyn Carter, acting Judge Patrick Savage, Judge Layne Harvey, Judge Stephanie Milroy, Judge Craig Coxhead, Judge Stephen Clark, Judge Sarah Reeves, Judge Michael Doogan and Judge Miharo Armstrong.
Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta first announced Wara's appointment last year, saying, “The Māori Land Court bench will benefit from [the judge's] skills in the important role it plays for Māori landowners.”
Te Ao Māori News will be on location and is live-streaming the pōhiri from 11:00am.