Kirsten has extensive experience advising the Crown on Treaty of Waitangi and public law issues and is adept at guiding clients through regulatory, central government and Parliamentary processes. She advises on how best to navigate those processes and the design of solutions to complex problems at the intersection of law and policy. Kirsten works with others to present clients with tailored seminars on areas of interest with an emphasis on lifting cultural intelligence.
Kirsten has held a variety of roles, with notable lead roles in nationally important kaupapa/issues including as a member of the Ministerial Secretariat on the Central North Island Forestry Settlement, Principal Advisor to the Government’s Review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004, Lead Government Advisor to the Select Committee on the then Takutai Moana Bill, and Chief Advisor Policy at the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority.
With experience working in key central government agencies including Treasury, the Ministry for the Environment and more recently as a Manager of the Treaty Team at the Crown Law Office, Kirsten regularly advises on the lawful exercise of public body decision-making powers advising both decision-makers and those affected by decisions.
The Treasury – Initial Public Offering (Social Housing)
Part of the Treasury’s Commercial Transactions Unit responsible for the design and execution of New Zealand’s first Initial Public Offering of social housing property and service contracts. Assisted in the development of procurement, commercial and contractual documents. Led early advice and engagement on scaled bilateral transfers with iwi involving Treaty settlement rights of first refusal and Housing New Zealand properties.
The Treasury – Initial Public Offering (State-Owned Power Generating Companies)
Seconded into the Treasury’s Commercial Transactions Group to advise on the urgent Waitangi Tribunal inquiry and related High Court litigation challenging the proposed sale of minority shares in Crown-owned power generating companies (Wai 2358; The New Zealand Māori Council v The Attorney-General  NZHC 338 (ultimately appealed to the Supreme Court)).
Ministry of Justice – Principal Advisor & Project Lead (Review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004)
This was a controversial review entailing complicated policy development, intensive cross-departmental and stakeholder relationship management, two national public consultation processes and ultimately the repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 and the enactment of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011.
The Beehive – Ministerial Secretariat (The Central North Island Forestry Settlement)
Member of the Ministerial Secretariat overseeing the development and signing of the Central North Forests Iwi Collective Settlement involving eight iwi (110,000 members), 176,000 hectares of land, and a book value of $450 million. Described by the judiciary as a "watershed" in the Treaty settlement process.
The Beehive – Private Secretary (Attorney-General)
Advised Sir Michael Cullen, at that time the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, and Attorney-General across all aspects of the Attorney-General portfolio as well as discrete policy issues in other portfolios (primarily on Treaty settlements and the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004).
Waitangi Tribunal – Te Kāhui Maunga: the National Park District Inquiry (Wai 1130)
Assistant Crown Counsel (Crown Law Office) in the Waitangi Tribunal National Park District Inquiry which spanned 2 years and involved 11 weeks of hearing.