Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, is one of many community law centres across Aotearoa New Zealand. The centres operate in 140 locations, providing legal help to more than 250 thousand people per year.

We believe in a just and fair Aotearoa, with a mission to provide free legal services to those in the Waikato who are unable to access it. 

Community Law Waikato ("the Centre") is a registered charitable trust and has been in operation since 1995. Three passionate individuals, one lawyer, one manager and a part time receptionist began a mission to meet the unmet legal need in Waikato. 

Today, we have a paid team of 16 employees and an army of volunteers. The Centre is governed by a Board of Trustees who volunteer their time and expertise to support the various operational demands.

The Centre operates from a central hub based in Kirikiriroa Hamilton and can help people living in the entire Waikato region. 

More about Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato

Although Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, is a not for profit entity, we believe our clients expect and deserve a professional quality service. Community law centres are NOT exempt from compliance with the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act and Client Care and Conduct Rules. 

Our service covers an extensive range of legal areas to cater for diverse community needs. In some instances, a client may only need basic legal advice or information, whereas in other instances a client may require further assistance or representation by a solicitor. Some matters only take an hour to resolve whereas some matters could take years to resolve. 

The service delivery approach is holistic which identifies not only legal issues but also any contributing / underlying social factors. Referrals are made which address the client’s needs in a broader context, aiming to empower individuals so that in many instances, they can help themselves.

The mission of ensuring that all New Zealanders have access to legal services is a huge challenge. Unfortunately, limited resources means targeting the very highest need. Eligibility for service depends on the nature of the legal problem, financial means, and other factors that pose as barriers to access legal services such as debt, mental illness, and age.

Although a significant proportion of Community Law services could be described in the sense of “being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff”, another aspect of the service is about being the “fence at the top”.  The emphasis on educating the community has grown over the years and it is a specific part of our contracted services. Education and information functions are designed to increase awareness of legal rights and obligations within the community as well as the availability of legal and other services.  

All law Centres in New Zealand are voluntary members of a national body, Community Law Centres Aotearoa (CLCA). CLCA’s function is to support and coordinate the movement.

Our Mission and Values

Our purpose is to provide free legal help to those in the Waikato who would otherwise not have access. 

Whakapono tatou i roto i te hapori matatika, me kotahitanga
We believe in fair and inclusive communities


  • Provide legal advice, assistance and support through an experienced legal team
  • Deliver a range of law related seminars that build legal knowledge and strengthens communities
  • Advocate for positive legal and social change to give people a voice
  • The values that underpin our actions are humanity, equity, respect and integrity

News and Community

Does the legal profession have any interest in the legal rights of accident victims?

07 July 2020 - By Don Rennie LAWTALK 941 Since 1974 when the common law right of accident victims to sue to recover damages for personal injury was abolished, the legal profession has shown veryRead more

Te Ara Ture - Pro-Bono Legal Help

A new service to match lawyers wanting to do pro bono work with people needing legal services was officially launched at Parliament earlier this week. Te Ara Ture, who will operate the new online tooRead more

CLC's Funding Affected by COVID-19

The amount of money that helps fund Community Law Centres (CLCs) has dropped by $4 million in one year due to falling interest rates associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Justice Minister AndrewRead more

COVID19 - See our Facebook page for law updates

Due to COVID19 there have been many law changes.  For example to tenancy and employment law.  To stay up to date with these changes please 'follow' our FacebookRead more

Reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986

The reforms: *improve tenants’ security and stability while protecting landlords’ interests *ensure the law appropriately balances the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords andRead more

What do you think about the criminal justice system?

Share your opinion on the criminal justice system. Click on the link below to share your thoughts. more

Chief District Court Judge Appointment

His Honour Judge Heemi Taumaunu’s appointment as Chief District Court Judge comes at a critical time for New Zealand’s justice system, according to Community Law Centres o Aotearoa(CLCA). “WeRead more

30 Minute Will discussion with Tompkins Wake

Tompkins Wake is offering a free no-obligation 30-minute Will discussion during the month of September. To arrange this, contact Scott Ratuki via or 07 838 6002. OrRead more

Protection Against Loan Sharks

“We know that many consumers are trapped in a cycle of debt, causing extreme hardship – and often, intergenerational poverty – for them and their families. This is an unacceptable situation andRead more

Protection for Tenants

New law changes protects tenants living in converted garages, sleep-outs, warehouses and industrial buildings.  This means the Landlord must make sure these buildings can legally be lived in andRead more

Privacy Law Changes

Get ready for upcoming privacy law changes. The Privacy Bill is making its way through Parliament and will most likely become law before the end of 2019. Changes to the Privacy Act are coming.Read more

Debt Collection

If your bills or loans are not paid on time, the business you borrowed money from or bought goods or services from might ask a debt collector to collect the money from you. Read more

Annual Reports

Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, is a registered charitable trust.

All charities in New Zealand are regulated through Charities Service, Ngā Ratonga Kaupapa Atawhai, which is part of the Department of Internal Affairs. The Service administers the Charities Act 2005 with the purpose to promote public trust and confidence in the charitable sector. The Service’s functions include registration, monitoring, processing Annual Returns, and providing educational support and advice to charities.

Our Annual Returns are available on the Charities Register. 

We also complete our own Annual Reports that accounts for our activities from year to year that can be viewed here. 

Thanking our Supporters

Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, is funded through a variety of streams with one of the main sources being a public fund. 

The Lawyers and Conveyancers Special Fund is derived from interest accrued in firms’ Trust Accounts. Banks retain 40% of the interest (except those banks who donate another 20% to Community Law) and 60% is legislated to fund community legal services.  

The public source of funding is unfortunately not enough to sustain community legal services. The government (Justice budget) tops up the funding (which fluctuates depending on where the special fund is sitting). 

In May 2020 Community Law Centres nationwide welcomes a "small but important" budget increase, the first since 2008. Whilst this funding increase helps, community law centres struggle to recruit and retain staff due to budget restraints.

“A funding increase for Community Law was a commitment made in the Coalition Government Agreement and Budget 2020 adds to an important increase in baseline funding for our services during the term of this Government,” says Sue. “It is welcome relief for a service that struggled with flat-lined funding and increased demand for the previous decade.”

Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, receive financial and other support through many organisations and grant schemes.  We wish to acknowledge these contributions. There are so many and too many to name individually. Combined it enables us to deliver our mission and contribute to a fair, inclusive, and just society.

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1955)