New Year honours for Faculty and alumni

Five Victoria Law alumni were recognised in the 2018 New Year Honours, including long serving Faculty member Professor Richard Boast QC.

Professor Richard Boast QC

Professor Boast (pictured) was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to the law and Māori. He has taught legal history, Māori land law and property law at the Faculty of Law since his graduation from Victoria, where he completed a BA in 1976, an LLB in 1978 and an LLM in 1985.

“I’m a combination of academic and practitioner, but more an academic at heart,” he says. “When you’re an academic you don’t really separate your work life from the rest of your life—it all blends into the same thing.”

His expertise has proved invaluable when representing iwi in the Waitangi Tribunal. Most notably he spent 24 years working with the Maungaharuru-Tangitū hapū through their Treaty settlement negotiations.

He has also served as an expert historian in a number of settlement negotiations involving iwi and the Crown, and has written more than 30 research reports for Tribunal inquiries.

Professor Boast wrote the award-winning Buying the Land, Selling the Land (2008), about the alienation of Māori land between 1865 and 1920. In 2009 the Attorney-General appointed him to the panel that reviewed the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004. The panel provided Government with advice on how best to recognise customary and public interests in the coastal marine area. More recently he has worked on a study of leading Native Land Court cases, which has become a standard resource for lawyers and is routinely cited in the Courts.

Professor Boast was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 2015, with Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson QC commenting at the time that the appointment was made “in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the law and in particular the legal history of New Zealand.”

Other honourees included The Honourable Georgina Manunui te Heuheu, QSO, who was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DNZM), for services to the State and Māori.

Dame Georgina was the first Māori woman to gain a law degree and be admitted to the High Court as Barrister and Solicitor. She was elected to Parliament in 1996, and served five terms until retiring in 2011.

She graduated from Victoria with an LLB in 1966 and a BA in 1972.

The Honourable Douglas White QC was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (KNZM) for services to the judiciary. He has been the University’s Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor and a long-serving Council member.

He was a High Court Judge and then a Judge of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2015. He currently serves as both President of the Law Commission and a Judge of the Cook Islands’ Court of Appeal. 

Sir Douglas graduated from Victoria with an LLB in 1969 and an LLM in 1972.

Sarah Reo was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to Māori and education. She co-founded award-winning education provider Cultureflow, which has developed an interactive training software to encourage the uptake of Te Reo and Tikanga Māori. Using these same technologies she co-founded Cultureflow China to deliver English language programmes to the Chinese.

Ms Reo graduated from Victoria with a BA in 1995 and an LLB in 1998.

The Honourable Kerry James “Chester” Borrows was made a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order (QSO) for services as a Member of Parliament.

A former police officer, he was elected to Parliament as the Member for the Whanganui electorate in 2005, and became opposition police spokesman. He held a number of portfolios and in 2014 became Deputy Speaker. He stepped down from politics in 2017.

The Honourable Chester Borrows graduated from Victoria with an LLB in 2002.

Further afield, Victoria alumna Catherine Callaghan was recently appointed a Queen’s Counsel in the United Kingdom. Catherine has worked at Blackstone Chambers in London since 1999. She graduated from Victoria with a BA in 1995 and an LLB(Hons) in 1996.