Paerau Warbrick

Ngāti Awa

"Dr Warbrick comes from a history and law background. He holds postgraduate degrees in history and a Bachelor of laws and Diploma for Graduates with law subjects.

Dr Warbrick is not only a lecturer in Te Tumu, he is also Barrister. He has held a practising certificate for over eleven years and his expertise is in Māori land law. Dr Warbrick has regularly appeared in the Māori Land Court and before the Māori Appellate Court and is now the leading barrister in Māori Land Court matters in the South Island. One of his mentors was the late Robin Corcoran, solicitor of Kaiapoi near Christchurch. The judges which he has regularly appeared before are Chief Judge Issac, and Judges Savage, Wainwright, Harvey and Reeves. Dr. Warbrick was the lead counsel for the respondents in the Māori Appellate Court’s decision in Tau v Nga Whanau o Morven and Glenanvy (2010). On the advice of Dr. Warbrick, the Māori Appellate Court overturned its earlier decision and made the evidentiary proof in Chief Judge’s applications one of ‘on the balance of probabilities’ as opposed to ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.


Dr Warbrick sits on the Common law committee of the Otago Branch of the New Zealand Law Society and is also a legal adviser to lawyers in the Ngāi Tahu Maori Law Centre in Dunedin. He has been a supervising lawyer to other barristers and solicitors who are now in practise elsewhere in New Zealand namely Aroha Reihana (Wellington), Rachel Hall (Hamilton), Bibiana Lee (Auckland), Natasha Firth (Wellington), Sommer Paekau (Hamilton), Nadine Warbrick (Wellington), Desiree Mahy (Dunedin) and Haines Ellison (Dunedin).

Dr Warbrick's academic research interests focuses on Māori and law and the Treaty of Waitangi. His current research focuses on the Māori Land Court in the 1960s and 1970s (which was the topic of his PhD). Paerau’s current research is looking into issues around tamati whāngai (children adopted according to Māori custom) in the Māori Land Court. His other research focuses on Judges of the Native Land and Māori Land Court and Trust law issues. He aims to produce research on all aspects of the Maori Land Court including its history, current law and jurisprudence and ethnography. Dr Warbrick also has an interest in the uses of autobiography and autoethnography in a Māori and Indigenous context."

Biographical sources

  • 2 December 2016


  • List of judges of the Native Land Court and Māori Land Court 1864-2003: He pepa o Ngā ingoa o ngā tiati o ngā kooti whenua Maori 1864-2003. Dunedin, N.Z. : W.P. Warbrick, 2003.
  • "Treaty of Waitangi." New Zealand: Its history, people and culture.Ed. X. Zhao and X. Qiao. Shanghai, China: Fudan University Press, 2009.
  • "O ratou whenua': Land and estate settlements." Treaty of Waitangi settlements. Ed. N. R. Wheen and J. Hayward. Wellington, N.Z.: Bridget Williams Books, (2012): 92-101.
  • "Minute books: An integral part of the Māori Land Court." The lives of colonial objects. Ed. A. Cooper, L. Paterson & A. Wanhalla. Dunedin, N.Z.: Otago University Press (2015): 129-133.
  • "A cause for nervousness: The proposed Māori land reforms in New Zealand." AlterNative 12.4 (2016): 369-379.
  • Papers/Presentations

  • "Somebody looking after something for somebody else’ Māori and Trust Law in modern history." Proceedings of the Australia New Zealand Law and History Society (ANZLHS) Conference: People, Power and Place, 2013.
  • Reviews

  • "Review of the book Buying the land, selling the land: Governments and Maori land in the North Island 1865-1921." Political Science 60.2 (2008): 104-105.
  • "Review of the book Raupatu: The confiscation of Maori land." Commonwealth & Comparative Politics 49.1 (2011): 147-148.
  • "Review of the book: Outcasts of the Gods: The struggle over slavery in Māori New Zealand." Journal of the Polynesian Society 125.2 (2016): 189-191.