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The Magna Carta 800 Committee for New Zealand, chaired by Dr Jennifer Lees-Marshment at the University of Auckland, is aiming to encourage, coordinate and promote celebrations of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta in New Zealand.

The committee’s vision is not just to commemorate the past, but also to look at how the principles of the Magna Carta are being upheld today, as well as looking at where we want to take those principles in the future under the theme Celebrating the past; Reflecting on the present; Imagining the future.

The project encourages consideration of the history of Magna Carta itself, the Bill of rights, the rule and role of law generally, but also human rights in relation to many areas including children, youth, women, Maori, immigrants and also newer political issues such as internet access, digital privacy, housing, prisoners, consumer rights, employment, educational and environmental. Through a range of events including a lecture series, panels at several conferences, an essay prize and a parliamentary reception, the committee hopes not just to reflect on the past, but to promote a debate about how we want New Zealand law – and society – to develop in the decades to come.

On Monday 16th March, a Magna Carta essay competition was launched by Attorney-General Chris Finlayson for all New Zealand secondary and tertiary students. Click here for more information.

For more information about the work of the Committee, and to learn more about individual events, visit the Magna Carta New Zealand website here.

Upcoming commemoration events:

Ongoing: New Zealand Historical Association Conference – call for papers (deadline 15th June)
9th March: Commonwealth Day Ceremony
19th – 22nd: Talk on Maori Magna Carta to the Higher Courts Judges’ Conference.
20th – 22nd March: Ye Taupo Medieval March
14th May: Wellington Young Lawyers Committee Event
18th – 19th May: 2015 Identity Conference: Enabling Digital Identity and Privacy in a Modern World
21st May: UK Professor Paul Brand lecture at Auckland University
9th June: Canterbury Historical Association Panel: ‘Magna Carta, Rights and Legacies’. Magna Carta and New Zealand major theme. 18:30.
14th June: Commemoration at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland. 17:00.
15th June: Attorney – General Chris Finlayson hosts a reception at Grand Hall of Parliament, Wellington. 17:30 – 19:00.
15th June: Lighting of Auckland War Museum.
15th June: Auckland Bell Ringers to ring for Magna Carta from St. Mathews Tower.
15th June: Judicial Review and Rule of Law Talk, Victoria University.
19th June: Special feature in the New Zealand Law Society’s magazine, ‘Law Talk.’
23rd June: Public event at The National Library, Wellington.
23rd June:Magna Carta, Human Rights, and the Treaty of Waitangi in 21st century New Zealand.
6th – 10th July: Magna Carta Lecture series at the University of Auckland. Multiple lectures and events – click here for more information.
21st July:Sir Paul Reeves Memorial Lecture ‘The Magna Charta of New Zealand: Rhetoric or reality? Massey University, Albany.
10th – 11th September: New Zealand Law Librarians’ Association 2015 conference.
13th – 18th September: Touring exhibition ‘Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter.’
25th September: Legal Research Foundation Conference – Rights, Liberty and Equality: Runnymede to the Beehive.
2 – 4 December: Magna Carta Panels at the NZ Historical Association Conference.
December (Date TBA) Exhibition of 16th Century Charter, University of Canterbury.

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