Regional | Judge Ngaroma Tahana

Two wāhine Māori sworn in as judges at marae ceremonies

Judge Sheena Tepania, with Judge Caren Fox and Judge Sarah Reeves (left), was sworn in at Waihapa Marae in Te Tai Tokerau on Saturday.  Photo / Supplied

Two wāhine Māori, Sheena Tepania and Ngaroma Tahana, were sworn in as judges at ceremonies at their respective marae on Saturday.

Judge Sheena Tepania was made a judge of the Environment Court and District Court at Waihapa Marae near Kāeo in Te Tai Tokerau.

Based in Auckland, Judge Tepania, who is Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa, Ngāti Rua, Ngāti Kuri, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi, was announced as a new judicial appointment by the attorney general at the end of February.

Before her appointment, she was in practice as a barrister sole since 2018, having previously been with Tamatekapua Law in Auckland for more than a decade.

She was an independent hearings commissioner since 2011 dealing with resource management matters and a development contributions commissioner from 2020 concerned with issues related to infrastructure costs associated with new building developments.

Judge Tepania was also an independent commissioner working with the Tūhua (Mayor Island) trust board helping to oversee resource consent applications.

Judge Ngaroma Tahana

Judge Tahana, of Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Mākino and Tapuika, was sworn in as a District Court judge at Tapuaeharuru Marae on the shores of Lake Rotoiti near Rotorua.

She is the sister of High Court judge, Justice Kiri Tahana - and one of four sets of Māori judicial siblings.

Judge Ngaroma Tahana alongside Judge Stephen Clark at Tapuaeharuru Marae in Rotoiti.  Photo / Supplied

Judge Tahana's appointment was announced in late March and she will sit at the Manukau District Court in Auckland.

Her early legal career began with 'big four' law firm Simpson Grierson in Auckland before she moved to Rotorua in 2010 with Gordon Pilditch as a crown prosecutor until 2018.

She was a partner with Kahui Legal from 2019, specialising in criminal defence and general litigation.