Jacinta Ruru

Jacinta Arianna Ruru (born 1974) is a New Zealand academic and the first Māori Professor of Law.[1] She is of Raukawa, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Maniapoto descent. Ruru is currently a professor at the University of Otago.[2]

Jacinta Ruru
At 2019 Research Honours Aotearoa
Born1974 (age 4445)
ResidenceNew Zealand
Alma materUniversity of Victoria
Scientific career
FieldsIndigenous law
InstitutionsUniversity of Otago
Doctoral advisorJohn Borrows

Academic career

After a 2012 Fulbright-funded PhD at the University of Victoria in Canada, Ruru returned to New Zealand and the University of Otago, rising to full professor in 2016.[3]

Ruru's research centres on indigenous peoples' (primarily Māori in New Zealand and First Nations in Canada) legal relations with land and water.[4][5]

In addition to winning the Prime Minister's supreme award for tertiary teaching,[6] Ruru has also been made a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.[7][8] In October 2019, Ruru was appointed one of seven inaugural sesquicentennial distinguished chairs, or poutoko taiea, at Otago University.[9]

Selected works

  • Ruru, Jacinta. (2004). "A politically fuelled tsunami: the foreshore/seabed controversy in Aotearoa Me Te Wai Pounamu/New Zealand." The Journal of the Polynesian Society 113, no. 1: 57–72.
  • Miler, Robert J., and Jacinta Ruru. (2008). "An Indigenous Lens into Comparative Law: The Doctrine of Discovery in the United States and New Zealand." West Virginia Law Review 111: 849.
  • Ruru, Jacinta. (2009). The legal voice of Māori in freshwater governance: a literature review. Landcare Research, New Zealand.
  • Abbott, Mick, and Jacinta Ruru, eds. (2010). Beyond the scene: Landscape and identity in Aotearoa New Zealand. Otago University Press.
  • Ruru, Jacinta. (2004). "Indigenous peoples' ownership and management of mountains: The Aotearoa/New Zealand experience." Indigenous Law Journal 3: 111–137.


  1. fulbright (30 May 2016). "First Māori law Professor a proud Fulbrighter". Fulbright.org.nz. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  2. "Professor Jacinta Ruru, Our People, Faculty of Law, University of Otago, New Zealand". Otago.ac.nz. doi:10.1080/02697459.2017.1308641. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  3. Gibb, John (13 September 2016). "Prof Ruru shedding her 'unease' | Otago Daily Times Online News". Odt.co.nz. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  4. Sunday 7:00am Repeated: Monday 2am (8 September 2016). "Why New Zealand is granting a river the same rights as a citizen - Sunday Extra - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  5. What in the World By BRYANT ROUSSEAU JULY 13, 2016 (13 July 2016). "In New Zealand, Lands and Rivers Can Be People (Legally Speaking) - The New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  6. Gibb, John (18 August 2016). "Otago's Ruru wins top award | Otago Daily Times Online News". Odt.co.nz. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  7. "Royal Society tackling diversity issues". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  8. Gibb, John (29 October 2016). "Four new Royal Society fellows | Otago Daily Times Online News". Odt.co.nz. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  9. Gibb, John (1 October 2019). "University's prestigious poutoko taiea initiative recognises leading scholars". Otago Daily Times Online News. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
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