The Pacific Justice Sector Programme brings together three previous regional justice programmes funded through New Zealand aid:

  • The Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative (PJSI) – previously administered through the Federal Courts of Australia
  • the Judicial Pacific Participation Fund (JPPF) – previously administered through Te Kura and;
  • support for litigation training – previously and continuing to be administered by the Crown Law Office and the Pacific Islands Law Officers Network, (PILON).

Our key objectives

To promote a stable, prosperous and resilient Pacific through support for the development of accessible, fair, responsive and efficient justice systems. The programme will:

  • continue to support improved effectiveness of the formal justice system in Pacific Island countries
  • have an increased focus on improving access to justice, especially for vulnerable and marginalised people
  • seek to understand the interface between the modern and traditional or customary justice sectors.


Te Kura Kaiwhakawā

Te Kura Kaiwhakawā/Institute of Judicial Studies manages the PJSP on behalf of Te Tari Toko i te Tumu Whakawā/The Office of the Chief Justice and the New Zealand judiciary. Te Kura is the education arm of the judiciary, delivering programmes and seminars to support judges throughout their careers. Its role is to inform and inspire the judiciary and to develop skills and good judge craft.  

Te Kura programmes are developed and delivered with input from subject-area experts and judges. Judges participate as seminar leaders, facilitators, learners, and contributors. Programmes are interactive and include discussion, practice sessions, scenarios, and analytical frameworks.

Te Kura's curriculum

Te Kura has developed a curriculum of judicial education that guides its programme development. The programmes provide for judges at every career stage and address bench-specific and specialist court education needs.

The curriculum integrates four key areas of judicial education:

  • The role of the judge
  • The context of the judicial function
  • Skills and judge craft
  • Renewal and resilience.

The role of the judge covers three areas: Induction, the role of the judge generally, special functions, courts and delivery. Courses include induction programmes with skills and judge craft as part of their content, and programmes on judicial conduct. In addition, there are annual seminars for specific benches and jurisdictions.

The context of judicial function explores both the social and legal context of being a judge in Aotearoa New Zealand. The social context curriculum includes core programmes and courses covering areas such as te reo Māori and tikanga (including the Te Kura noho marae), diversity, family violence, and managing sexual violence trials.  The legal context curriculum is delivered through updates on substantive law, common room sessions, and webinars on new or complex areas of law.

Skills and judge craft focuses on management skills (such as courtroom management and communication), evaluative skills (evidence and procedure, decision making, bail, and risk assessment), and delivery skills (oral judgments and judgment writing).  

Renewal and resilience supports judges to judge “well.” It covers leadership, mentoring, managing workload, and mental and physical wellbeing. It is aimed at re-invigorating judges, as well as harnessing the experience of longer-serving judges on managing this challenging role.  

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent restrictions on travel between New Zealand and Pacific countries, Te Kura has revised its approach to support Pacific judiciaries and courts. It has expanded its mentoring programmes and developed specific resources that are accessible across the Pacific. These resources include:

  • a range of video and written support material that can be accessed by individual judicial officers and court staff, and tailored for locally-developed education programmes
  • the production of bench book materials, and
  • resources for local facilitators.

These resources are available to all Pacific judicial officers and court staff of partner countries.