Dr Claire Winfield Ngamihi Charters

LLB(Hons) (First Class) (Otago), BA (Otago), LLM (NYU), PhD (Cambridge)

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Associate Professor


Claire is from Ngati Whakaue, Tuwharetoa, Nga Puhi and Tainui.

Claire’s primary area of research is in Indigenous peoples’ rights in international and constitutional law, often with a comparative focus. Claire is working on articles on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the relationship between tikanga Māori and the state legal system, tensions between human rights and Indigenous peoples' rights and on the legitimacy of Indigenous peoples' rights under international law, which will be published as a book by Cambridge University Press.  Claire is also working on a number of collaborative research projects including on Indigenous peoples' self-determination and the philosophical foundations of Indigenous law.  See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DOHdhzQNu8, and is a member of the International Law Association's Committee on Indigenous peoples' rights.

Claire was awarded a Royal Society Rutherford Discovery Fellowship in 2017: https://www.royalsociety.org.nz/what-we-do/funds-and-opportunities/rutherford-discovery-fellowships/rutherford-discovery-fellowship-recipients/claire-charters/.

Claire has typically combined her academic research and teaching with advocacy for the rights of Indigenous peoples at the domestic and international levels and is currently a trustee on the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples. In 2016 - 2017 Claire was appointed by the President of the United Nations General Assembly to advise him on enhancing Indigenous peoples' participation in the United Nations. From 2010-2013 Claire worked for the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section, focusing on the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Claire is currently a co-director of the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre for Indigenous Peoples and the Law.


Teaching | Current

Contemporary Tiriti o Waitangi issues


Comparative constitutional law and Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples under international law


Postgraduate supervision

International law and Indigenous peoples' rights

Comparative constitutional law and Indigenous peoples' rights


Royal Society Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, 2018.

Kansai University, Visiting Fellow, 2017.

London School of Economics, Centre for ther Study of Human Rights, Senior Visiting Fellow, 2016.

Trustee, UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, 2015 - current.

Yale University Fox Fellow, 2007.


Co-Director, Aotearoa/New Zealand Centre for Indigenous Peoples and the Law

Tumuaki (Associate Dean), Faculty of Law

Editor, te Tai Haruru, Journal of Maori and Indigenous Legal Issues

Committees/Professional groups/Services

International Law Association (New Zealand)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Charters, C. (2018). Indigenous Peoplesâ Rights to Lands, Territories and Resources in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In J. Hohmann, M. Weller (Eds.) The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: A Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/38716
  • Charters, C. (2017). Finding the rights balance: A methodology to balance Indigenous peoples' rights in decision making. New Zealand Law Review (4), 553-596.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/39366
  • Charters, C., & Johnston, K. (Eds.) (2017). Te Tai Haruru Journal of Māori and Indigenous Issues: Special Edition - Dr Nin Tomas Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland Law School. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/38958
  • Charters, C. (2017). Enhancing indigenous peoples' participation at the UN. In K. Broch Hansen, K. Wessendorf, K. Jepsen (Eds.) The indigenous world 2017 (pp. 554-563). Copenhagen, Denmark: International Work Group of Indigenous Affairs.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/39537
  • Charters, C. W. (2017). Nin, and a Critique of the Supreme Court's Approach in Takamore. Te Tai Haruru, 5, 63-77.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/34826
  • Charters, C. (2017). Use it or lose it: The value of using the declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples in Māori legal and political claims. In A. Erueti (Ed.) International indigenous rights in Aotearoa New Zealand (pp. 137-151). Wellington, N.Z.: Victoria University Press.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/36033
  • Charters, C. (2016). Legitimising the state: Constitutional reform to recognise Rangatiratanga and Tikanga Māori. Paper presented at New Zealand Law Commission 30th Anniversary Symposium, Wellington, N.Z.. 3 November - 3 November 2016.
  • Charters, C. (2015). Maori rights: Legal or political?. Public Law Review, 26 (4), 231-236.

Contact details

Primary office location

1-11 SHORT STREET - Bldg 810
Level 7, Room 745
New Zealand