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.


Kuna Santhrasergaran –  Law student also studying BCom (Accounting & Finance)

"In New Zealand we belong to a culture of realising the problems that take place but we do not have the feeling of responsibility to do anything about it. I am passionate about Youth Leadership and want to help change that.”


Sean Collins – Law student

“The road is not always smooth; I’ve done a bridging course, I’ve failed papers, I got into Part 2 the second time around and have experienced tragedy and challenges along the way.

My family have been my motivation and have helped me push through, but the work comes down to you. Despite the challenges you may face, don’t let your grades define you, bounce back when the going gets tough and never give up.”


Tariqa Satherley – Law student

“I feel that everyone acknowledges that the Law School is filled with high achievers and that the environment is competitive yet we all still have that feeling that we aren’t doing well or enough; it’s like we all have that cognitive dissonance going on inside us even though we are already aware of the pressures.”

Ingrid Tuaopepe image

Ingrid Tuaopepe - Law student also studying BA(Hons) in Pacific Studies

“From the age of 12 I knew that my passion was to help Pacific people through the legal system, encourage Pacific youths to do well in their education and provide support where needed in areas involving Family Law.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to study law at the University of Auckland and as my favourite Samoan proverb states: “O le ala i le pule o le tautua” which translates as “leadership through service”.


Aziz Nagimi - Law student

“As a person who identifies from a distinct ethnic background, I realise that an education in law can enable us to make a real and positive difference in our community. We can bridge our cross-cultural differences in an ever-increasingly diverse society by understanding a plurality of perspectives. By studying at the Auckland Law School, I am able to broaden my horizons and reach my potential as there is a friendly environment that is inclusive and conducive to success.”

Katie Shorter

Katie Shorter - Law student also studying BA in Criminology and Film

“I’ve noticed that it’s easy to let Law School become your life. It’s great to be involved but it is important to have the right balance and outlets to turn to during stressful times. I don’t have a plan and am open to trying a range of things to determine what works best for me. I have learnt to lower my expectations and accept there are more important things in life than achieving a good grade. I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for me and am looking forward to seeing where everyone ends up!”


Ling Ye - Law student also studying BA

“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.”

Vanisha Patel

Vanisha Patel - Law student also studying BSc in Psychology

“I am currently involved in the Science Scholars programme; a new initiative that started a few years ago. The idea is to work towards producing a thesis by the end of your undergraduate degree. I had planned to write about jury biases in court trials but now I am using EEG and MRI technology to understand how we identify and categorise objects in the brain."


Veronica Shepherd - Law student also studying BA (Politics and Geography)

“Physical and mental wellbeing is important to me. I feel there are a lot of people struggling with the same types of issues but people don’t speak up about them for fear of being stigmatised”. 


Naushyn Janah - Law student also studying BA (Politics and History)

"My sister is one of the 100 nominees for the Women of Influence Awards. I’ve seen her stand up and advocate for others - especially other young women of colour - fearlessly. She has taught me the importance of building others up, and I strongly believe in this. A few words of encouragement from a visible role model has made a real difference to me, so I believe if you’re successful, you shouldn’t pull the ladder up from behind you, you need to put your hand out and help others up. We all have that responsibility."

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith - Law student also studying BCom (Finance and Economics)

“My passion lies in finance but I wanted to study something that complemented the theory so I chose to study law as the topics and issues covered make it real and relatable to real life. I like the fact that the Law School doesn’t lock you into a specific major giving you the flexibility to try different topics. I took aviation law which sparked an interest in flying and I am now working towards my Private Pilot Licence and fly for a hobby!”


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.