Partner - Auckland

Chris Merrick

Chris leads MC’s Māori and Pacific Legal and Advisory team, he is sought-after for his wide skill set, strategic approach, and ability to navigate cultural and legal intersections.

Chris leads MC’s Māori and Pacific Legal and Advisory team, he is sought-after for his wide skill set, strategic approach, and ability to navigate cultural and legal intersections.

Chris Merrick

About

Chris (Te Whakapiko o Ngāti Manaia, Ngāti Wai, Ma’ufanga, Niua, Tonga) is a skilled facilitator and litigator who draws his legal expertise and cultural background together in his advisory work. Chris leads MC’s Māori and Pacific Legal and Advisory team, advising clients on tikanga Māori, tikanga values, and Pacific custom in the law. His work regularly focuses on tikanga Māori and Te Tiriti related issues.  Chris and his team often work in collaboration with MC’s other specialist legal teams.

Chris has held a number of leading roles in criminal litigation (both defence and prosecution), policy and law reform, and in major public and private inquiries. 

A speaker of te reo Māori, Chris also works in Māori and Pacific community legal education through the Te Korimako Legal Education (https://tekorimako.org/) and Folau He Vahanoa. Increasingly, he has been in engaged to conduct reviews, deliver workshops and training on te ao Māori and Pacific matters relevant in the law and regulation.  

Recent Cases & Achievements

Cases

Berkland v R [2022] NZSC 143 (for Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa as Intervener).

Zhang v R [2019] NZCA 507 (for Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa as Intervener).

R v Bhikoo & Ors [2017] HZHC 3204 (defence counsel for defendant Misipati in large high profile drug operation).

Inquiries and investigations

Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care: Senior Counsel providing legal and investigations advice to all levels of the Commission including public hearing preparation and appearances, interim reporting, and establishing and leading the Commission's Māori investigations team.

Dilworth Independent Inquiry: Inquiry lawyer co-leading the inquiry legal team, providing legal and te ao Māori and Pasifika cultural advice to the Inquirers and wider inquiry team.  Participant interviews, workshop facilitation, policy and process review and analysis, and report writing contributor.  

Law Reform and Policy

Te Hunga Rōia Māori Criminal and Youth Justice law reform convenor (2018-2021).

New Zealand Youth Justice Committee (2019-2021).

Rōpū Māori Advisory Group on Oranga Tamariki Act reform (2022-2023).

Community

Te Korimako Community Legal Education (2021–present).

Folau He Vahanoa Community Legal Education teaching faculty (2023–present).

Sports Complaints Mediation Resolution Service (April 2023–present).

Deputy Chair Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal (January 2019–December 2019).

Judicial Officer – Auckland Rugby Football Union (2010–2015).

Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust – Trustee (2012–2016).

Credentials

Admitted as NZ Barrister and Solicitor, 2008

BA/LLB (majoring in history), Auckland University 

Te Wānanga Takiura o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa – Rūmaki Reo