Rotorua-based Māori lawyer named High Court judge

The new judge was previously managing partner at Kāhui Legal

Rotorua-based Māori lawyer named High Court judge
Kiri Tahana of Te Arawa

Rotorua-based Māori lawyer Kiri Tahana has been named a High Court judge.

Attorney‑General David Parker announced on 8 April that Tahana, who is part of Te Arawa, will sit in Auckland. Prior to joining the bench, Tahana served as managing partner of Kāhui Legal for three years.

Throughout her stint with the firm, she worked closely with Māori land owning entities, post settlement governance bodies and Māori businesses on a range of matters relating to new ventures, governance, structuring, commercial contracts, trusts and Māori land and litigation. However, Tahana kicked off her legal career as a solicitor at Bell Gully in Wellington after obtaining her BA in Māori and Political Science and LLB (Hons) from the Victoria University of Wellington in 1995.

In 1999, she worked with Walters Williams & Co. for a year before moving to Gilbert + Tobin in Sydney, where she practised commercial litigation for seven years. This was interspersed with a year of litigation practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London and two years as senior legal counsel at the Commerce Commission.

Thereafter, Tahana joined the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC in Dubai as a senior director and legal counsel. In this role, she led a team of in-house lawyers responsible for advising the company’s commercial divisions.

In 2017, Tahana returned to New Zealand and was admitted to the Kāhui Legal partnership.

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