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If it had passed you by, Google’s history doodle has come to the rescue to herald the fact that 15 June is the official day to celebrate that most historical of documents – the Magna Carta.

As the British Library itself says, before inviting you to explore its 800-year legacy with unique collection items, newly-commissioned articles by leading experts, videos and animations, and a range of teaching resources, the Magna Carta is one of the most famous documents in the world.

As a special activity the British Library invited young people across the world to debate their digital rights and responsibilities and submit a clause to a Magna Carta for the digital age page. The Top 10 clauses are being announced this week. See:

Events in New Zealand

Suitably the 800th celebrations have been embraced by the New Zealand Law Society, with attention drawn to the fact that one section of the Magna Carta is still New Zealand law. The Society also gives a useful pointer to an address from 2008 by former Court of Appeal judge Sir David Baragwanath, who showed how it has been a very important influence on New Zealand’s law.

Events in New Zealand have been coordinated by the Auckland University-based Magna Carta 800 Committee for New Zealand who have posted a helpful array of further pointers (to events, experts et al) on a comprehensive website – with a full list of events.

Already this year there has been an address by Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson on Commonwealth Day on 9 March, and two events this month: a Canterbury Historical Association panel (Magna Carta – Rights and Legacies) and a Service of Commemoration held yesterday at Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Still in Auckland, events for today are a lighting of the exterior of Auckland War Memorial War Museum and pealing of bells at St Matthews in the City and in Wellington there is a Parliamentary Reception and announcement of winners of the Attorney-General’s Essay Competition early this evening.

British High Commission Event

The team at NewsRoom_Plus are especially looking forward to reporting on this evening’s double-whammy event being put on by the British High Commission in Wellington which combines:

  • a Queen’s Birthday Party 2015 at which a limited edition print of David Bailey’s new photographic portrait of The Queen will be unveiled – one of only twelve available to High Commissions and Embassies around the world.
  • plus, From Magna Carta to Modernity – a celebration of the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, and the influence that document had, and still has, on human rights all over the world. In that connection this website is highly recommended:


But wait there’s more… 

By the end of the week the NZ Law Society‘s magazine LawTalk will be available with a special feature on the Magna Carta, and next Tuesday evening 23 June Victoria University senior law lecturer Dr Carwyn Jones will deliver a talk titled “Magna Carta, Human Rights, and the Treaty of Waitangi” at the National Library in Wellington.