Professor Jacinta Ruru

Jacinta Ruru

BA (Wellington), LLM (Otago), PhD (Victoria)

Contact details

Email:, Phone: +64 3 479 8833


Tena koe. Ko Ngati Raukawa ki Waikato, Ngati Ranginui ki Tauranga me Ngati Maniapoto nga iwi. Ko Pakeha hoki ahau. He roia kaiwhakaako ahau ki te Whare Wananga o Otago. Kia ora koe.

My research focuses on exploring Indigenous peoples' legal rights to own, manage and govern land and water. I currently teach 300-400 level courses 'Maori Land Law' and 'Law and Indigenous Peoples'.

I have led, or co-led, several national and international research projects including on the Common Law Doctrine of Discovery, Indigenous rights to freshwater and multidisciplinary understandings of landscapes.

I am co-director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence.

I am co-director of the University of Otago Research Cluster for Natural Resources Law and have recently completed contributing to the 'Old Problems New Solutions' Landcare Research project. I have organised several conferences including the "In Good Faith" Treaty of Waitangi Symposium (2007) and the International Indigenous Legal Water Forum (2009). I am organising the The Australia New Zealand Legal History Conference (November 2013).

Significant research awards include the University of Otago prestigious Rowheath Trust and Carl Smith Medal for outstanding scholarly achievement across all disciplines (2010) and the Fulbright Nga Pae o te Maramatanga Senior Maori Scholar Award (2012).

Selected publications

Miller, R. J., Ruru, J., Behrendt, L., & Lindberg, T. (2010). Discovering indigenous lands: The doctrine of discovery in the English colonies. Oxford University Press, 294p.

Ruru, J. (2008). Finding solutions for the legislative gaps in determining rights to the family home on colonially defined indigenous lands. U.B.C. Law Review, 41(2), 315-348.

Ruru, J. (2006). What could have been? The common law doctrine of native title in land under salt water in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Monash University Law Review, 32(1), 116-144.

Ruru, J. (2009). Undefined and unresolved: Exploring indigenous rights in Aotearoa New Zealand's freshwater legal regime. Journal of Water Law, 20(5/6), 236-242.

Ruru, J. (2011). Brookers Māori Legislation Handbook 2012. Wellington, New Zealand: Brookers, 1443p.



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