Dr Elizabeth Macpherson

I have fifteen years of experience advising governments, private sector and communities on natural resources, environment and indigenous policy and regulation in Australia, New Zealand and Chile. I am a current expert member of the United Nations' Harmony With Nature Knowledge Network, and a former Assistant Director at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet.

I have a PhD on indigenous rights and water law from the University of Melbourne and am a Law Lecturer at the University of Canterbury. I am fluent in English,  Maori and Spanish.

Qualifications: BCA, LLB (Hons), PhD


  • natural resources regulation and development
  • indigenous land and resource rights
  • governance and policy development
  • implementation of international best practice water policy and regulation (with a focus on South America)

Key experience

  • Undertaken an in-depth analysis and empirical investigation of legal and policy frameworks determining the allocation and management of water across four jurisdictions (Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Colombia).
  • Conducted many cases before the courts on indigenous and natural resource matters, including appearing in New Zealand’s Waitangi Tribunal and Maori Land Court and as instructing solicitor before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court of Australia.
  • Managed major law reform projects, including heritage, indigenous heritage, governance, planning, land and natural resources legislation and drafted and reviewed numerous policy documents concerning indigenous peoples and natural resources.
  • Provided strategic advice to government on cultural water regimes drawing on comparative New Zealand and Latin American studies.
  • Acted as legal advisor and government relations advisor to St Kilda Mums, a major not for profit providing material aid to mothers throughout Victoria.
  • Held board positions on non-government organisations, including The Canterbury Law Review, of which I am also co-editor.
  • Taught indigenous rights, human rights, environmental law, natural resources law and land law and the University of Canterbury.
  • Strong theoretical and practical understandings of the institutional and corporate structures used by Aboriginal people in Victoria to facilitate their participation in land and resource management, together with economic development.
  • An excellent understanding of the legal frameworks governing resource use and management by Aboriginal people in Victoria, including the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) and the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic), as well as Victorian land and resource management legislation.
  • An excellent understanding of laws regulating the use of water in Australia and elsewhere, including state-based and commonwealth water legislation, and comparative water law frameworks (especially New Zealand, Chile and Colombia).
  • Substantial experience of and expertise in cross-cultural research methodologies, which involve collaboration and participation with indigenous people.

Web: LinkedIn