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Bar Association congratulates NZLS President-Elect

Bar Association congratulates NZLS President-Elect Tiana Epati

The New Zealand Bar Association welcomes the appointment of Tiana Epati as the fourth woman President of the New Zealand Law Society, with effect from April 2019.

NZBA President, Kate Davenport QC, says that Ms Epati has all the qualities needed to lead the profession at this time as it works to make the cultural change, and embrace the diversity and inclusion that the profession needs. “She is a young woman of drive, intelligence and empathy who understands the burden and opportunity of the role,” says Ms Davenport. “It is significant that she will lead the legal profession into its 150th celebrations.”
Ms Epati is a principal at Gisborne law firm Rishworth, Wall & Mathieson. She is a criminal lawyer of outstanding reputation and skill. She was previously a Crown prosecutor at the Crown Law Office. She conducts senior level criminal jury trials as well as appellate work. Ms Epati was appointed a specialist Youth Advocate in criminal proceedings in 2015, is the Vice-President for Central North Island on the New Zealand Law Society Executive Board and is a member of the Women’s Advisory Panel for the New Zealand Law Society.

Ms Epati is the youngest person, and the first person of Pacifika (Samoan) descent to be appointed as President. She also has a familial background in the legal profession through her father, retired Manukau District Court Judge A’e’au Semi Epati. Judge Epati was the first Pacific person to be sworn in as a judge in New Zealand. Ms Epati has said that her father was an example of what is possible, despite the odds, and that she shares his vision of helping people.

Ms Davenport says that the NZBA is looking forward to working with Ms Epati and to strengthening the already excellent relationship between the two organisations as they work towards benefiting the profession in future, particularly in this time of much needed change. We wish her well.


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