Humans of Auckland Law School

We at Auckland Law School are an amazing, diverse, multifaceted and inspirational bunch of people from all walks of life who happen to come together to study the law. Meet some of the people who make up the Auckland Law School.


Taymuraz Zaseev - Law student

"I am grateful for the privilege to be part of this Law School, it means a lot to me and empowers me with tools that I can apply to help people around me. It opened a door for me to work at the Auckland High Court where I spent 9 years and have met great people. It also sparked my interest, inter alia, in Immigration Law and I have become a Licensed Immigration Adviser along the way. My family has been integral in supporting me on my journey for which I will remain forever grateful."


Sarah van Beek – Law student

“I love rules and having a set process to follow which sparked an interest in studying law. I'm from Whangarei and moved to Auckland for University and am currently in my 6th year of study, as I previously studied a Bachelor of Arts. My experience so far is that the Law School has a good sense of fellowship and community, which was a really nice surprise for me and this has made studying that much more fulfilling. In my spare time I ride horses and go wind surfing which I enjoy as the physical activity allows my mind to have a real break!”


Radhika Reddy – Law student

“My parents are my biggest role models and my biggest cheerleaders. Growing up I still remember seeing them come home from their 9-5's and soon after head to their night jobs. They taught me the importance of being resilient. There have been many situations in my life that could have turned out very differently if I wasn't just that - particularly throughout my journey at law school as a brown female. I have a long way to go - but I hope to one day possess half the work ethic and character they have and to make them proud.”


Julia Burger - Law student 

“I have been at the Law School since 2012 and in that time I have got married, bought a house and had a child! My proudest moment has been getting my best grade since first year while juggling a home and a young child.”


George Muir - Law student also studying BCom

“I've been playing hockey for 17 years and was selected to play for the Black Sticks when I was 18. Every year there is a selection process so it is quite competitive which means I have to be really good at managing my time so that I can juggle training, competitions and study. A couple of years ago I had a bad year; I missed selection for the year's major tournament and sustained a shoulder injury which kept me out of action for 6 extra months. However, the experience taught me the importance of maintaining a balance, particularly when things go wrong, as I still had my study and friends around me so that I could focus on another part of my life and still have fun.”


Dania Alsagoff - Law student also studying BCom (Economics)

“I'm from Singapore and went to High School in Christchurch. My dad is a lawyer, but I didn't think I'd get in and found Part 1 really stressful. I like cooking, reading, crafting and knitting, although I don't get much time for those during the semester as I end up spending too much time in the Dave. I love trying out new restaurants and love being a foodie.”


Adriana Bird - Law student also studying BSc (Environmental Science and Geography)

“I love that there is potential for you to do so much with the knowledge you gain from your Law degree. Studying the law is a powerful tool and it's exciting as it opens up so many opportunities for you.”

John Kingi New

John Kingi - Law student also studying a BA (Politics and History)

“I came out at high school at 16 and that was the beginning of a challenging period in my life.  I went from being a top academic student with a clear pathway to leaving school without University entrance. In the years following I worked and grew and experienced a variety of pathways. In 2015 I came back to University life and haven't looked back. My own experiences led me to serve our Rainbow Whanau where I have been Chairperson and Treasurer for charity Rainbow Youth, current Co-Chair of the Auckland Council Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel and Co-President for our Rainbow Law group here at Law school from 2017-18. At 27 I travelled my own path and I have learnt that it’s important to be true to yourself and to not allow others to determine who and what you are."

Jess web

Jess Ah Koy - Auckland Law School student

“I am entering into my 8th year of study! In 2015 I graduated with a bachelors degree in Social Work and in the same year I went on to start my law degree.  One of the highlights for me has been the friendships I’ve made. I was terrified to start at Auckland Law School as I was at the awkward stage of not being a typical ‘mature student,’ but also not quite the fresh-faced kid coming straight from high school. The Pacific Island Law Students' Association has played a huge part in bringing me together with others and the support they have given me has been invaluable-- the friendships I have made will definitely outlast my time at Auckland Law School. My best advice to help you survive law would be to find friends who push you to do better while making you laugh through it all."



Dr Deborah Waxman - Auckland Law School student

"I am from the UK and came to NZ in 1996 as a trained doctor.  I am a General Practitioner with a special interest in forensic medicine, having worked extensively for NZ Police and Prisons, which is challenging but rewarding.  I have recently joined Auckland Law School this year as a part II student and see myself working in the medico legal, criminal and/or forensic areas of law."


Chesta web

Chesta Fa'otusia- Auckland Law School student 

“My family and I came to New Zealand when I was very young, and a lot of the mentalities I discovered here were not only foreign, but worked to create a fear inside of me that challenged my confidence in many ways. Looking back now, my adversities had only given me the space I needed to discover who I am and celebrate my identity as a young, Tongan woman. Auckland Law school has given me an opportunity to apply myself and affect change that is beyond me. I owe this realization to where I come from. Before Auckland Law School, my brother and I went to a low decile high school. When I chose to pursue my university education, he sacrificed his own in order to help my mum provide for me. His is one example of strength that inspires me every day and to think about those around me who may need someone to believe in their potential – as I did."



Rima Shenoy - Law student also studying BA(Hons) (Political Science and International Relations)

“My mum and dad came over to New Zealand in their mid 20’s, the age I am heading to soon!  I cannot imagine leaving my country and setting up a life somewhere completely different at that age. I was raised in Wellington and am grateful for the education and life my parents have worked hard to provide me. Their choices have helped shape me into who I am today and have informed my decisions.”

Olive Brown

Olive Brown - Law student also studying BA (Sociology and Politics)

“I first became interested in human rights law at High School when I saw the way in which the law could be used as a vehicle for change to make lives better. I think the law can be really powerful in that way.”


Destiny Fruean - Law student  

"My life is focused on my family, church and studying, so finding the right balance can be really hard.  There are a lot of voices out there that will tell you all the reasons why you shouldn't or can't pursue or even complete a law degree - but if it's something you really want to do, you can make it work! Personally, I keep any study stress at my front door so that my family get the best of me and don't lose out to the opportunities they work hard to allow me to continue to access. However, everybody has their own way of making it work for them. Bottom line - it's doable.

I find studying the law fascinating and am so grateful to have access to this knowledge, and for the support I've had from my family that has allowed for me to follow my dreams."

Anna photo

Anna Zam - Law student also studying BA (English and Philosophy)

“I am currently involved with UN Youth NZ's Global Development Tour which takes place early next year. I am one of the volunteer Directors, so I will be accompanying 22, Year 13 high school students as they travel to seven cities in a month and connect with NGO's, businesses and policy makers who are leading the change to meet the Global Sustainable Development Goals."


Bret Gower - Law student  

“It feels like a privilege to be here at the Law School. The enthusiasm and level of commitment from the students is really inspiring."


Gary Hofman - Law student also studying BA (Drama and History)

“I have a real passion for theatre and find it thrilling and unpredictable!  I have recently developed an interest in the curation of theatre.  I love providing opportunities for both traditional and non-traditional, immersive and street theatre.  The knowledge I gain from the Law degree, particularly learning about contracts and intellectual property, is really valuable to the theatre industry.”

Jade Magrath photo

Jade Magrath - Law student also studying BA (Politics and International Relations)

“For the first couple of years at Law School, I felt as though I had to try and fit in.  I don’t feel that now and perhaps that’s because I’m older, more settled and self-assured.  But at the time it was quite intimidating because there was this pressure to be a “model” law student.  As horribly cliché as this sounds, I think the secret to “succeeding” at Law School is to be yourself. By that I mean you should figure out what makes you feel passionate or excited, and pursue it wholeheartedly.  That’s how you’ll meet like-minded people and how you’ll find fulfilment and confidence.”

Josh photo

Josh Chang - Law student also studying BCom(Hons) in Finance

"I feel motivated by seeing other people succeed beyond what I believe I could do. I think it is always nice to ask yourself if you can achieve what they have achieved and then give it a go. Whether it is success or failure, at least I'll know for sure."

Haya Photo

Haya Khan - Law student also studying BA (Communications)

"I feel passionate about journalism and would love to practice law and write about it. I'd like to use my career as a way to help make a change and believe this can have a positive effect on society."

Ben Cleland

Ben Cleland - Law student  

"I'm the President of the UoA Comedy club and last year the club awarded me the title of Worst MC 2016! I've been interested in comedy since High School, where I got banned from public speaking for telling too many inappropriate jokes in assembly!"

Karen Chow

Karen Chow - Law student  

"My time at the Law School has been some of the best experiences I've had, the people and the things I'm learning all relate to what I want to do going forward. I'm interested in Environmental Law - not in the sense of regulations - but in the sense of asking how we can better align our practices with the environment."


Maria Sopoaga - Law student also studying BA (English and Philosophy)

"My mum motivates and inspires me.  It’s been just me and her for the last 12 years.  My mum works really hard and still finds time to drop me off to places so that I can do things. My mum has high standards for me which has really helped push me to do well and to grow as a person. I am in my final semester and have this image in my head of my graduation and her being there and smiling and being proud of me which has really helped keep me going.”  


Tayla Court - Law student also studying BCom (Accounting)

“I’m from South Auckland and one of the first in my family to go to University.  I have four younger siblings, and my two sisters especially remind me a lot of myself at that age, as they are very strong-minded and driven! I feel excited to watch them all grow up and to be there to help them realise their goals, but also to stick to them as I’ve learnt that if you keep at it, you really can achieve what you set out to do!”

Our videos

Success comes in different shapes and sizes, is rarely linear and can involve backwards steps as well as leaps forward. 

Success can also come in different forms: advances in social justice; completing a degree with 5 children to support and not a whole lot of financial support; appointment to the bench; and representing those who otherwise have little access to legal services.  In these videos, we celebrate the inspiring success  of some of our Auckland Law School people.