New judge ‘passionate advocate’ for children

Judge Traicee McKenzie at her swearing-in ceremony at a special sitting of the Invercargill District Court on Monday.

“I’M officially out of my depth.”

Those were some of the first words newly sworn-in District Court Judge Traicee McKenzie said at her ceremony on Monday.

About 100 people gathered to witness the two-part ceremony which began with a mihi whakatau then the swearing-in, officiated by Principal Family Court Judge Jackie Moran.

After taking both an Oath of Allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen and the Oath of Office there were addresses from solicitors Richard Smith, Anna Stevens and Anna Gill.

Ms Gill said Judge McKenzie was a fearless and passionate advocate for children, young people, the elderly and other vulnerable members of society.

“There is no doubt these people will remain a key focus for you even though your focus will now be through another lens,” she said.

She believed Judge McKenzie would continue to do good and affect change, in her new role.

Judge Moran said Judge McKenzie began her career in Southland, working for Watson and Savage then Hewalt Galt before opening her own practice in 1993.

She had held various roles including Lawyer for Child, various positions on the New Zealand Law Society and Southland Law Society boards, was a New Zealand Family Law community representative as well as the Southland local representative, and worked with the Citizens Advice Bureau, Women’s Refuge and had been a mentor for the Graeme Dingle Foundation, among others.

Judge McKenzie thanked those who had helped her throughout her almost 40-year career.

“To my colleagues at the bar, you have all kept me on my toes. Without you, I would not have learned so much, not just about the law, but about myself.

“I will be forever grateful for the friendship and camaraderie.”

Judge McKenzie will work as a District Court Judge with a family court jurisdiction, based in Christchurch.