NZ MP commends Justice Nelson’s latest achievement


New Zealand’s Member of Parliament Aupito William Sio has acknowledged the conferring of the honorary doctor of law from the University of Canterbury for Samoa’s Supreme Court Justice Vui Clarence Nelson. 

The ceremony was held last week, in New Zealand. 

The NZ MP says they are very proud of Justice Nelson receiving the honorary doctor of law from the University of Canterbury, receiving this is so inspirational for Generation 6Bs – brown, beautiful, brainy, bilingual, bicultural and bold.

He thanked the University of Canterbury and those responsible for making this happen.

“It’s historic and opens the door to removing barriers in the tertiary education sector.”

As reported last month, Justice Nelson was being recognized for his work as a trailblazer for judicial reform and an international advocate for the rights of children and young people.

Justice Nelson grew up in Samoa before being awarded a New Zealand Government scholarship to study in New Zealand as a 16-year-old. 

He graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1977 with a Bachelor of Laws, practised as a lawyer for two decades, and has been a judge for over 20 years, including being appointed Senior Judge of the Supreme Court of Samoa in 2021.

Justice Nelson has been an advocate for human rights and judicial reform throughout his career, with a particular concern for the rights of children and young people and protecting young victims of sexual violence.

He was the first Pacific Islander to be elected to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which he served on for eight years until the start of this year.

Justice Nelson has acted as the catalyst for important legislative reform in Samoa such as the creation of a sex offenders registry and the introduction of the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2017.

In 2007 he was behind the first Pacific-based Young Offenders Act, and he also helped establish the Samoa Youth Court. He set up the Olomanu Juvenile Facility, specifically designed to house and rehabilitate young offenders.