Chief Judge Caren Fox appointed Waitangi Tribunal Chair

Newly sworn in Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court, Caren Fox, is also the new Chair of the Waitangi Tribunal.

Published: Friday, 1 September 2023 | Rāmere, 01 Mahuru, 2023

This is yet another remarkable milestone for Chief Judge Fox who will become the first wahine Māori appointed into the role by Governor General Her Excellency the Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro.

The Waitangi Tribunal is a standing commission of inquiry which makes recommendations on claims brought by Māori relating to legislation, policies, actions or omissions of the Crown that are alleged to breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi.

Chief Judge Fox, who has whakapapa links to Ngāti Porou and Rongowhakaata, has been presiding on numerous historical, urgency and kaupapa treaty claims for over two decades including the Central North Island inquiry (the largest inquiry in the history of the Tribunal), which contributed to the Kaingaroa Forest Settlement, and another inquiry that led to the first national Aquaculture Treaty Settlement. Chief Judge Fox is also currently the presiding officer for the Porirua ki Manawatu claims.

The appointment recognises her significant experience, extensive formal qualifications, and past leadership roles, as well as her competence in te reo and tikanga Māori, and an understanding of the role both play. All of which will serve her well as Chair of the Waitangi Tribunal.

Judge Sarah Reeves (Te Atiawa) has been acting Chair since 1 May 2023, following former Chair Judge Isaac Wilson’s (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu) retirement on 30 April 2023.

Te Puni Kōkiri congratulates Chief Judge Caren Fox for accomplishing another significant achievement and acknowledges that her triumphs continue to be an inspiration to wāhine and wāhine Māori.

More information

  • Story – First Wahine Māori appointed Chief Judge Māori Land Court
  • Website – Waitangi Tribunal
  • Legislation - Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975

Photo: Left to right - Dr Matthew Packer (WTU Staff Member, Report Writer), Dr Grant Phillipson (Member, Waitangi Tribunal), Dr Monty Soutar (Member, Waitangi Tribunal), Chief Judge Caren Fox (Presiding Officer, Waitangi Tribunal), Destinee Wikitoa (WTU Staff Member, Claims Coordinator), Tania Simpson (Member, Waitangi Tribunal), and Charlotte Forsyth (WTU Staff Member, Inquiry Facilitator), at Tūkorehe Marae, Ōhau.