Attorney-General makes suite of district court appointments

They will sit at the Wellington, Manukau, Whangarei, and Palmerston North District Courts

Attorney-General makes suite of district court appointments

Attorney-General David Parker has announced a suite of district court judge appointments:

  • Christopher John Dellabarca of Wellington, who will be sworn in on April 27,
  • Katie Jane Elkin of Wellington, who will be sworn in on May 12,
  • Nicola Jan Wills of Wellington, who will be sworn in on May 26,
  • Caroline Mary Hickman of Napier, who will be sworn in on June 8,
  • Ngaroma Tahana of Rotorua, who will be sworn in on April 15, and
  • Tania Rose Williams Blyth of Hamilton, who will be sworn in on June 10.

Dellabarca will take up his appointment at the Wellington District Court. He has been in Wellington Family Law since becoming a partner in 2007. He was appointed by the previous Minister of Justice as a member of the independent review panel to report on the 2014 Family Justice Reforms in 2018.

Elkin practised in Minter Ellison Rudd Watts from 2003 to 2011, leaving only to take on roles at the office of the Health and Disability Commissioner.  She joined the Department of Corrections in 2016 and became its acting deputy chief executive for corporate services. She joined the Crown law office in 2019 and has a PhD in law and public health.

Wills joined the Commerce Commission in 1995 and became the in-house counsel of Transpower in 1998.  She practised as a barrister in Thorndon Chambers between 1999 and 2014, where she gained experience in litigation and commercial practice.  Wills was later appointed Director of Proceedings at the Health and Disability Commissioner’s office before joining Crown law.

Elkin and Wills will be taking up their appointments in the Wellington District Court.

Hickman’s legal career commenced as a Judge’s clerk at the Wellington High Court in 1992.  After becoming a barrister sole in 2001, Hickman spent most of her career in the Family and Youth Courts. She is presently the chair of the NZLS family law section and will take up her appointment at the Palmerston North District Court.

Tahana worked in Auckland for Simpson Grierson before moving to Rotorua and working as a Crown prosecutor from 2010 to 2018.  She then joined the law firm Kahui Legal and became partner in 2019. She will take up her appointment at the Manukau District Court.

Blyth, who will take up her appointment at the Whangarei District Court, first established herself as a barrister in Rotorua and Hamilton with expertise in family law. She has been a District Inspector for mental health since 2008 and a member of the Parole Board since 2014. She has worked closely with iwi leaders and local communities bridging awareness of Family Court and Oranga Tamariki procedures.

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