Dr Sarah Down

LLB (1st Class Hons), BA (Pol Science), DPhil
Honorary Lecturer, National Centre for Indigenous Studies
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Te Maori Whakakaere Rauemi (Maori Resource Law) 180202
  • Access To Justice 180102
  • Environmental And Natural Resources Law 180111
  • Human Rights Law 180114
  • Te Tiriti O Waitangi (The Treaty Of Waitangi) 180203

Research interests

Sarah Down's doctoral thesis, Maori and Minerals: Debating Rights explored Maori mineral claims to the Waitangi Tribunal and Crown and iwi (tribes) response to the Tribunal’s findings. Her current research interests are in Maori rights to minerals in the offshore, Indigenous peoples and the justice system and innovations to recognise Maori mineral rights.   


Sarah Down is from Aotearoa New Zealand and is Pakeha (a New Zealander of European descent). In December 2018, she graduated from Australian National University with a Doctorate of Philosophy. She also holds a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) from the University of Canterbury.

Sarah has worked for a number of Indigenous and human rights organisations. In her role as National Legal Secretariat Officer for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) she was responsible for researching and writing on behalf of the NATSILS membership on a range of complex and varied legal issues. Sarah has also worked for the Ngai Tahu Research Centre, Community Law Canterbury, the Otautahi (Christchurch) National Urban Maori Authority (NUMA), Te Runanga o Nga Maata Waka, and Nga Hau e Wha National Marae. Most recently, she was a researcher for Lord Bird (founder of The Big Issue magazine) in the House of Lords in the United Kingdom.


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Updated:  08 June 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers