Farewelling a fair and just New Zealander
Ai auē. Kua hinga mai te kaitoa o te ao ture. Kua wahangūhia te arero o te kaiwhakaihuwaka reo. Kua tere atu rā koe i ngā tai whenewhene, i ngā tai haruru o te wā. E te taniwha hikuroa takoto mai i to āhuru mowai, takoto mai, moe mai rā.
The Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta has paid her respects to a Māori Land Court Judge who passed away at the weekend, describing him as a softly spoken, intelligent man who was held in high regard by Māori and Pākehā alike.
“Judge David Ambler was a well-respected New Zealander. Presiding over matters to do with Māori and their land is a very complex area. Judge Ambler rose to the challenge with dignity, clarity and respect.
Judge Ambler was appointed to the Māori Land Court in 2006 where he was a resident Judge for the Taitokerau District. Before that he had an accomplished career as a lawyer in Auckland and Rotorua.
“When presiding over Te Rohe Pōtae District inquiry for the Waitangi Tribunal, emotions ran high but I remember Judge Ambler remained considered, respectful and committed to the task at hand.
“This fair and just New Zealander had much more to give, and has gone too soon. None will feel his absence more though, than his wife and family. My aroha is with them now.
“As a fluent speaker of te reo Māori, Judge Ambler gained a deeper understanding of the Māori communities he worked with and their philosophies. In return he earned their regard. But he was always clear that he did not speak for Māori,” says Mrs Mahuta.
“He had a healthy respect for the differences between us but also said ‘to ignore the cultural contexts in which we attempt to walk together is to ignore 200 years of history’.
“As a lawyer, Judge Ambler represented clients on many Māori land issues and acted for Māori Trust Boards and Incorporations as well as claimants in the Waitangi Tribunal.
"Not only did he have a remarkable legal mind with a strong sense of social justice, he was simply a nice man. He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered,” says Nanaia Mahuta.