Māori Fulbright scholar heads to California

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Māori law firm associate Maia Wikaira is Stamford-bound after being awarded the 2016 Fulbright-Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga Graduate Award.

Wikaira, who works for Kahui Legal, will head to California to complete a Masters over 9 months, in Environmental Law and Policy, specialising in freshwater law and policy and indigenous rights.
“Stanford is home to some of the USA’s foremost experts in water law and policy, so I am excited to learn from some of the thought leaders in this area,” Wikaira told NZ Lawyer.

“I have chosen freshwater law and policy and indigenous rights, to address the place of iwi and hapū rights and interests in ongoing freshwater reform.

“California is also facing significant water shortage issues, so I am looking forward to the lessons I can learn from the challenges they are facing.”

The program aims to promote mutual understanding through exchanges between the US and other countries, each year selecting number of outstanding NZ academics.  Students pursue a tailored course, culminating in a thesis on the subject.

“The 9 month programme involves rigorous interdisciplinary training in environmental, energy and resource law and policy,” Wikaira said.

“Receiving the Fulbright-Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga Scholarship is a huge privilege.”

Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga works to promote creative opportunities within indigenous peoples.  Wikaira said working with the organisation will enable her to grow her network in the U.S.

“I am fortunate to join a strong network of ambassadors for the ideals of both programmes and look to creating connections and fostering understanding during my time in the US,” she said.

“I am also looking forward to the weather, and enjoying the diverse cultural and outdoor experiences California has to offer.

“Stanford University is near San Francisco, and I cannot wait to experience the music, art, theatre and literary events for which the Golden Gate City is so famous.”