Blenheim lawyer Murray Hunt has become the fourth Marlborough lawyer in 20 years to be sworn in as a judge.
Judge Hunt took two oaths in front of family, friends, and former colleagues on Friday at the Blenheim District Court and was given both his civil and criminal court, and his family court warrants by Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue.
Judge Hunt, who has practisedlaw in Blenheim for 27 years, said he was very humbled by the ceremony.
"And it's an intimidating experience, I think the last time I sat in [the judge's seat] was at the Christmas party in 1992," he joked.
Mr Hunt said his responsibility to his job, his role and the community was something he took very seriously. That would go with him into his next role, along with a dedication to remaining a trusted figure, he said.
"Your word is an important thing and the respect that you earn from being a man of your word is crucial . . . and I hope that can be said of me as a judge."
During her speech on behalf of the Marlborough branch of the New Zealand Law Society, president Briony Millar thanked Judge Hunt for his work.
"Your appointment brings credit to everyone on the Marlborough Bar. The court has gained an exceptional judge."
She said legal firm Hardy-Jones Clark had lost an exceptional lawyer.
Judge Hunt would be moving to Whangarei to take on his new role, where he would be one of two judges serving the Northland area, principal Family Court Judge Laurence Ryan said.
Northland had the highest unemployment rate in New Zealand, he told Judge Hunt. "I'm absolutely confident that you will ensure those people will be treated with dignity and respect," he said.
Judge Hunt said his new role meant he was leaving behind many friendships.
"I face some new challenges with the job, I've met some great people and made some great friends . . . I will be back and I don't intend those friendships will be lost."
- © Fairfax NZ News