District Court Judge appointed

  • Margaret Wilson

Attorney-General Hon Margaret Wilson has announced the appointment of A'e'au Semi Epati of Auckland as a District Court Judge.

Judge Epati is a Samoan High Chief from Falealupo in Savai'i. He is the first Pacific Islander to be appointed to the District Court Bench.

Judge Epati graduated from Otago University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970 and completed a Bachelor of Laws degree at Otago in 1974. He was admitted to the Bar that same year and has practised as a Barrister sole in Auckland since 1996. His recent work has been mostly criminal prosecutions including some major trials in Samoa and Kiribati.

Judge Epati previously practised, mostly as a general practitioner, in New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga. He was appointed a Temporary Magistrate in Samoa for six months in 1986 and served as Attorney-General of Niue in 1995-96. He is a former President of the Western Samoa Law Society.

Judge Epati has considerable involvement in Pacific Island community activities and as well as being fluent in Samoan, Tokelauan and Tuvaluan has an understanding of Niuean and Tongan.

The new Judge will be sworn in on February 22 and will sit in the Manukau Court.