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High profile and respected Maori lawyer Moana Jackson has died

Respected Maori lawyer Moana Jackson has died after battling a long illness, according to the NZ Herald.

His passing comes after a record of fierce advocacy for Maori, reforming the criminal justice system and dismantling racist structures.

Jackson (Ngāti Kahungungu, Ngāti Porou, Rongomaiwahine), was a man who navigated both worlds of te ao Māori and te ao Pākehā, bringing with him immense knowledge to reverse the negative impacts of colonization.

He was also an author and lecturer specializing in the Treaty of Waitangi and constitutional issues.

In his early years he graduated in law and criminology from Victoria University of Wellington and later taught te reo Māori.

He continued his studies in the United States before returning to New Zealand to conduct research for the then Ministry of Justice report on Maori and the criminal justice system, He Whaipaanga Hou.

He has contributed much of his training and work to international Indigenous issues, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

He was a judge at the International Tribunal for Indigenous Rights in Hawaii in 1993, then again in Canada in 1995.

Jackson was recognized as a respected vocal critic for Maori issues, particularly around the time of the government’s foreshore and seabed legislation in 2004.

He was also vocal during the October 2007 police “terrorist” raids. He resigned as boss of Police Recruit Wing 244 due to his opposition to the way the raids were carried out, which he says stems from racism.

Maori communities and Maori leaders across New Zealand describe Jackson’s passing as a “huge loss”.