Leading Māori legal academic Moana Jackson dies


Moana Jackson, one of the country’s leading legal minds and indigenous scholars, has died after a lengthy illness.

Moana Jackson.

Moana Jackson. Photo: RNZ / Patrice Allen

Son of All Black Everard Jackson, and brother of a founding member of Ngā Tamatoa, Syd Jackson, Moana trained as a lawyer but was also a teacher of Te Reo Māori.

He co-founded the Māori Legal Service in the 1980s, becoming a tireless advocate for criminal justice reform and the dismantling of racist structures in the justice system.

In 1988, he was the author of the ground-breaking report for the Justice Department, Māori in the Criminal Justice System, which is still widely referenced today.

Jackson worked for the United Nations, where he helped draft the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and for the interim Bougainville government during the peace process there in 1990s.

Most recently he lectured at Te Wānanga o Raukawa in Ōtaki, while remaining a staunch advocate for Māori rights until his final days.

Moana Jackson lay Te Waimana overnight, ahead of his return to his Ngāti Kahungunu homeland, where he will lie at Matahiwi Marae in Hastings.

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