Swearing in Ceremony

Swearing in of Tinimiraka Clark

  • I mihi to everyone gathered today to acknowledge and commend our whanaunga, our colleague and our friend – Tinimiraka Clark.
  • E te uri o Ngāti Tīpa, Ngāti Tahinga, Ngāti Āmaru, nei au ka mihi.
  • Thank you to those who spoke so eloquently about Tinimiraka’s work. 
  • Sharing insights into her work supporting Māori Crown prosecutors and her practice and work in Kirikiriroa.
  • Thank you for the invitation to be part of this ceremony today and for the opportunity to kōrero with you all. 
  • Judge Clark - Today we celebrate the culmination of 20 years of legal experience to today’s achievement.
  • In today’s achievement we also acknowledge your whānau, your mentors and colleagues who have been with you along the way.


Importance of advancement of Māori women in law

  • I think also of the Māori women who have been the guiding lights in the judiciary.
  • The Honourable Justice Lowell Goddard who was appointed in 1995 to the High Court of New Zealand. 
  • An historical moment, as she was the first Māori woman appointed as a Justice of the High Court.  She went on to be the first woman appointed a Queen’s Counsel.
  • Her Honour Denise Clark, tēnā koe e te Tiāti, was the first Māori woman to be appointed to the District Court judge. 
  • It was the first time a judge had been admitted to the bench in a ceremony held on a marae, Tamatekapua marae at Ohinemutu.
  • Another first, her Honour Judge Caren Fox was appointed to the Māori Land Court in 2000 and in 2010 was appointed as Deputy Chief Judge.
  • I reflect on these wāhine toa and many others who provide examples for our rangatahi and taiohi to look to for encouraging and seeing it is possible.
  • I note these women, their achievements as those who pave the way, knowing the journey is not always straight forward or easy.
  • Making the not yet possible for those to follow.  Particularly for our young wāhine, such that they know they too can achieve great things.
  • Something I know that Māori legal professions have been discussing for many years.
  • Such that Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa earlier this year launched Ngā Wāhine Rōia Māori at Parliament. 
  • Ngā Wāhine Rōia Māori formalises a mentoring programme championing the advancement of Māori women members of the Law Society.
  • Why do I believe this important?
  • To me wahine Māori are at the heart of whānau and at the heart of whānau development.
  • In the Māori language sphere I have already appointed two women into major roles in the Board that will influence the future of te reo.
  •  Professor Rawinia Higgins has been appointed chair of te Taura Whiri i te reo and Charisma Rangipunga has been appointed Deputy chair.
  • These appointment are crucial for promoting te reo Māori and encouraging wahine ma to aim high – we can all achieve our dreams.
  • Rangatahi and taiohi are our future, our future leaders, we can tell them it’s possible, we can encourage them.
  • However, until they see it, feel it and know it, for them it’s not possible.
  • Today, Judge Clark, you made it possible for you and the others to follow you.

Diversity within the judiciary

  • As a woman and as a Māori woman in politics, I often reflect on the diversity of our communities being reflected in our workforce.
  • Being a Māori woman shapes my perspective and experience in the world. 
  • Men and women, Māori and Pākehā are different.  These differences are to be celebrated and embraced.


  • As does the diversity of Aotearoa New Zealand.


  • To have this diversity reflected in the judiciary lends to an enhanced service – we learn from each other’s tikanga, reo, culture, experiences and working styles.


  • I see in 2017 three law firms for example that were among the 44 companies who have voluntarily committed to a diversity reporting framework.


  • These companies committed to raising the value of diversity and inclusiveness in throughout their operations.


  • And further that they would report on their progress.
  • I close with the kōrero of one of my mentors – te puāwaitanga o ngā moemoeā, me whakamahi. 
  • Let’s work together to dreams into reality.  Princess Te Puea.