Kingi Snelgar is a lawyer from Aotearoa. Having worked as a Crown prosecutor in his homeland, he has also worked as a Human Rights observer internationally and – on completion of an LLM at Harvard – joined the Standing Rock protests in South Dakota in late-2016. Attended by more than 150 American Indian nations, the movement began last April, and sought to stop construction of the Dakota Access (oil) pipeline. Commissioned by the Texas-based company Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline’s route crosses the sacred tribal lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, threatening not only the nation’s livelihoods but the purity of their water – a vital resource.
Protesters secured a halt on construction on December 4, 2016, but the decision was subsequently reversed by US president Donald Trump in his first week of office.