Ngāti Awa welcomes its fourth judge

By Kereama Wright
Rachel Paul. Source -

Ngāti Awa will welcome its' fourth judge today.

Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Manawa descendant, Rachel Paul, barrister and solicitor of Ōhope, has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Hamilton. 

The pōhiri was due to take place at the Whakatāne Court House, but swelling numbers forced the ceremony to be held on Wairaka Marae in Whakatāne. 

Ms Paul, daughter of Māori Council stalwart Maanu Paul, will join her brother Judge Eddie Paul on the bench. 

Judge Eddie Paul, was sworn in as a district court judge in Auckland in 2008 where he continues to practice. He was one of eight judges who established and lead the 14 marae based rangatahi courts around the country. 

It will be a first for Aotearoa, having two judges from one whānau. 

Paul began her career in Ōpōtiki in 1993. Before moving to Tauranga in 1996 to work for Holland Beckett as head of the family litigation section.

A hunger for te reo Māori lead to her taking two years’ break from legal practice to attend Te Wharewānanga o Awanuiārangi, undertaking total immersion Māori classes.

She returned to work for an Ōpōtiki firm in 2005 then joined Francis Eivers in 2006 before commencing her own practice in 2009 in which she specialized in family litigation.

During her career, Rachel has worked in the criminal and treaty law jurisdictions for over 10 years.

She acts as Lawyer for Child, Counsel to Assist, Counsel for Subject Person as well as being a Youth Advocate appearing in the Youth Court and Te Kooti Rangatahi. 

More to come.