Here’s a brief history, in lieu of a CV.
I was born in Invercargill, and reared on Bluff oysters, toheroa from Oreti Beach, and blustery southerlies. We moved to Auckland during my primary school years. Later I went to Carmel College, where I was dux but a bit short on sporting achievement. I graduated from Auckland University with a BA (majoring in French, with mathematics and economics) and an LLB, and somehow snaffled a senior prize in law.
My early training in the law was at Russell McVeagh, where I was lucky to work for two very highly regarded former litigation partners, the late Justice Brad Giles and the late Robert Fardell QC. I credit them both with inspiring a love of court work and a dedication to doing things well.
Over the years I have done a lot of voluntary work for animal welfare organisations, in the form of advocacy, submission-writing, and legal advice. I have just acted (with a great team) in a successful judicial review proceeding challenging factory farming practices. There is still a need for significant law reform in this area. Recently I also helped a refugee claimant, in his two High Court hearings, and in his successful appeal to the Court of Appeal. A difficult case that I think also highlighted the inadequacy of New Zealand’s current refugee efforts.
Although committees are not my natural home, as a member of the Bar Association’s Law Reform Committee I have regularly contributed to the Association’s submissions on the government’s latest law reform proposals. I also enjoy presenting seminars. Two of my seminars, “Don’t just sit there” and “Be your own advocate”, were aimed at encouraging young women lawyers to seize opportunities to have speaking roles in court, rather than settling for the role of a silent junior.
I have a wonderful daughter, Steph. She currently works in communications in London. Her wry sense of humour shows no deference. On a wet, windy day I returned from a walk with Charlie (my rambunctious and rather scruffy löwchen) and had a facetime call with Steph. After surveying my disarray she observed: “I think you and Charlie both need a good brush”.