"Naaku te rourou, naau te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi"
With your food basket and my food basket, the community will thrive
-Whakatauki (Maaori proverb)
Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture aa-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.
Our Mission and Values
Our mission is to provide free legal help to those in the Waikato who would otherwise not have access.
We provide legal advice, assistance, and support through an experienced legal team.
For positive legal and social change to give people a voice.
By delivering a range of law related seminars that build legal knowledge and strengthen communities.
The values that underpin our actions - humanity, equity, respect, and integrity.
Although Te Tari Ture aa-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.