Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre

We provide a free legal service for Māori land matters and aim to educate and empower all members of our community.

Tangata People

Tangata | People

The Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre is governed by a board of trustees made up of local rūnanga representatives, a legal profession representative and a Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou / University of Otago representative. The board works closely with our Kaihautū / Manager Shelley Kapua-Tarpey to achieve the direction and goals of the Centre.  

Board members

Fiona Curd


Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki

Jeff Paterson

Te Rūnanga o Moeraki

Antony Deaker

Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki

Caron Ward

Te Runanga o Ōtākou

Tim Vial


Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou

David Ehlers

Webb Farry - Legal Profession Representative

Mihiata Pirini

University of Otago

Grace Titter

Gallaway Cook Allan - Legal Profession Representative


Staff members:

Shelley Kapua-Tarpey - Tumuaki/Manager

Ko Ngongotaha raua ko Mauao te Maunga

Ko Rotorua te roto, ko Tauranga moana te Moana

Ko Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Hangarau, Pirirakau ōku Hapu

Ko Te Arawa, Ngati Ranginui ōku Iwi

Ko Papaiouru, Hangarau ōku Marae

No Rotorua ahau

Kei Otepoti tāku kainga

I have worked in management and leadership roles for more than 15 years, completing a Bachelor of Applied Management majoring in Māori Organisational Leadership.  I enjoy being part of the Māori Law Centre, supporting our people with land matters, advice, and providing guidance.


Grace O'Hagan - rōia / lawyer

Grace started with the Law Centre at the beginning of 2022, after completing her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Development. She spent a lot of time at university looking at the relationship between Tikanga and Te Ao Māori and the legal system, as well as working on her Te Reo abilities. Grace is also passionate about giving back to the community and spent time volunteering for various organisations during her studies, such at Citizens Advice Bureau, Community Law and Law for Change. In this role, Grace hopes to assist people in understanding and utilising the Māori land law system.

Outside of work, Grace enjoys spending time with friends and whānau, cooking, sewing and getting out into nature.

Henry Francis - rōia / lawyer

Henry began working for the law centre in June 2022. He completed degrees in law and politics at University of Otago in 2017 and has since spent time working in the disability sector and music industry as a touring musician. He has a keen interest in human rights law and ensuring that justice is accessible to all people. In his role with the Ngāi Tahu Māori Law Centre, Henry is excited to advocate for people with Māori land interests and to help to empower them to have positive interactions with the Māori land law system. Outside of work, Henry enjoys spending time with whānau and the Ōtepoti community, cooking, reading, and exploring the Otago Peninsula.

Hanako Aoyagi - rōia / lawyer

Hana began working for the Law Centre in January 2023. She holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Arts in Law. She has worked in the field of diplomacy and international cooperation for many years before moving to Aotearoa. Hana has much interest in equity and social justice. Hana wishes to contribute to strengthening those values through her work at a community level.  Hana enjoys learning te reo, trying new recipes, and travelling with her whānau.

Mia Brooke - rōia / lawyer

Mia joined the Law Centre in January 2023. She completed degrees in law and art history at Victoria University of Wellington in 2021. During her studies, Mia completed a research scholarship at Te Papa Museum and worked in the public sector. She has a strong commitment to promoting access to justice and looks forward to helping clients acheive their goals with whenua Māori. Outside of work, Mia enjoys spending time with friends and whānau, and is an avid tramper, cyclist and coffee-drinker. 

Volunteers / Tūao

We also have senior law students from the University of Otago Law Faculty who volunteer with us. Please contact us if you are interested in volunteering your time.

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