Skip to main content

Comparative Criminal Justice Studies- New Zealand

VERMILLION, SD-- Twenty-one criminal justice and political science majors traveled to New Zealand in May 2018 to compare that country’s criminal justice system to that of the United States.

Students learned about the generational effects of colonialism for people in New Zealand and South Dakota and forged connections with professionals in the field. The course compared the intersection of the criminal justice systems in New Zealand and South Dakota with the Maori and Great Sioux communities.

When the students visited the North Island, they received lectures from preeminent Kiwi scholars including noted historian Dr. Paul Moon, expert on Maori culture and language; Dr. Ella Henry and law lecturer; and author Khylee Quince.  Students also met with leading policing, corrections, courts and policymaking professionals. 

Outside of their intensive learning sessions, students also visited historic sites including the Waitangi Treaty grounds where in 1840 the Maori signed their first accord with European settlers. Students experienced traditional Maori culture including a Pohiri, or welcome ceremony.

More adventurous students participated in activities such as hiking, jetboating, kayaking and parasailing.

“The trip was an excellent reminder of the value of the Farber Fund,” Professor Sandy McKeown, director of criminal justice and instructor for the study abroad course, said.

Noting the impact on USD students, McKeown said, “Three students flew in an airplane for the first time and more than half of the students left the United States for the first time.”


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.