Katherine Sanders: F.O.V. Acheson, Judge of New Zealand’s Native Land Court 1919-43

F.O.V. Acheson, Judge of New Zealand’s Native Land Court 1919-43: Innovative Legal Judgments on Native Title and the Treaty of Waitangi

F.O.V. Acheson, a Judge of New Zealand’s Native Land Court from 1919 to 1943, was a man of lively intellect and broad interests. As a young law student, Acheson wrote a thesis addressing Māori customary land tenures. He later published ethnographic writings in academic journals and authored a popular romantic adventure novel, Plume of the Arawas. Acheson’s innovative legal judgments addressing native title and the Treaty of Waitangi are now acknowledged as amongst the most significant in New Zealand legal history. Yet Acheson spent years in conflict with the Native Department before been forced into retirement by the revocation of his judicial warrant in 1943. Acheson and his work were then all but forgotten until the 1990s.

In this talk, I introduce several different ways into Acheson’s life and work and discuss possible relationships between these approaches. As a work-in-progress seminar, I raise unresolved questions and invite your feedback and insights into the crafting of biography.

Katherine Sanders is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Auckland. Katherine joined the Faculty from practice in London and was previously research clerk to the Rt Hon Justice Blanchard at the Supreme Court of New Zealand. She is a graduate of the University of Auckland and the Yale Law School.

Katherine’s research is in New Zealand legal history and land law. This presentation is part of her doctoral project – a biography of F.O.V. Acheson.

Zoom option:
Meeting ID: 849 0058 9945
Password: 630803
Join Zoom Meeting: bit.ly/BioWorkshop2022

Date & time

Thu 26 Oct 2023, 11am


RSSS Building, Room 6.71, Level 6, 146 Ellery Cres, ANU


Katherine Sanders

Event series


National Centre of Biography


Stephen Wilks
02 6125 2349


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