Janet Dickson

PHOTO: Janet Dickson. RNZ

An Auckland real estate agent, Janet Dickson, has taken her industry body to court over mandatory Te Tiriti training. Dickson, who risks a five-year ban if her license is revoked, refused to complete the required Te Tiriti course.

Advertising Rates

In 2023, the Real Estate Agents Authority mandated that all real estate agents complete Te Kākano, a course developed in collaboration with Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. The Authority described the course as a “practical introduction to Māori culture, language (te reo), custom (tikanga), and Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the real estate context.”

Dickson argued that the course was presented from a “Ngāti Awa perspective on topics” and felt it offered minimal benefit to her practice, as she did not deal with Māori land. Her lawyer, Nikki Pender, emphasized that Dickson’s objection was not to the course content but to its mandatory nature.

Supported by the lobby group Hobson’s Pledge, Dickson has publicly urged people to oppose what she termed “woke madness.”

Janet Dickson on the website for Hobson's Pledge

Janet Dickson on the website for Hobson’s Pledge. Photo: Hobson’s Pledge

On the other side, Real Estate Agents Authority lawyer Andrew Butler contended that Dickson’s view of Te Kākano misrepresented its content and purpose. He highlighted the importance of real estate agents being culturally aware and sensitive to diverse clients to enhance their business operations. He also noted that the statutory consequences, including the potential cancellation of licenses for non-compliance with educational rules, were established by Parliament to foster a new regulatory regime and boost public confidence in the industry.

The judicial review, presided over by Justice McQueen, was expected to conclude today.

PC gone Mad? Real Estate Agent faces a five-year ban for refusing Māori values course