Haere ra Judge Moran, travel well

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2013
Judge Phil Moran
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ
LAST JUDGMENT: Judge Phil Moran, who retires today, is looking forward to cooking and travelling.

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A former Invercargill judge is swapping the bench for a wooden spoon as he hangs up his gown today for the last time.

Long-serving judge Phil Moran said it would be a bit strange walking off the bench for the last time after more than two decades in the role.

Judge Moran, who was a resident judge in Invercargill for 13 years, retires today and while he felt emotional he was looking forward to it.

Now Christchurch-based, Judge Moran, whose wife Jackie is also a judge, said he had no plans for his retirement but was looking forward to cooking and travelling.

The father of four would miss the camaraderie of the other judges and lawyers but said he would not miss getting up early, working late and reading endless pre-sentence reports.

The decision to retire came about six months ago for several reasons, most notably that he was tired of being at the airport every Sunday afternoon with a new destination in sight.

It was simply time to stop, he said.

Born in Wellington, he was persuaded to become a lawyer after winning a speech competition at high school.

He was admitted to the bar in Auckland in 1966 and worked as a lawyer for about 20 years based in Whanganui, including a nine-year stint as Crown prosecutor.

He became a judge in 1990, first based in Invercargill, where he spent 13 years, before moving to Christchurch in 2003.

He retired two years ago but was given an acting warrant, which meant he was sent around the country to relieve where needed.

Among his fondest memories while working as a judge in Invercargill was being taught te reo by a local woman.

She taught him to the extent he could go on to a marae and make speeches, he said.

A further highlight came when the woman and two others were sworn in as justices of the peace. The ceremony was held on a marae, Judge Moran said.

He could not recall anything he disliked about his time in Invercargill and said he loved coming back to see his friends.

Now he planned to enjoy dining out, entertaining and travelling - something he did not have much time for before.

But, his time as a judge would have a lasting impact.

"I think it's been a rewarding and deeply satisfying trip and the knowledge that people leave your court feeling that they've been listened to and dealt with fairly is very important."

Judge Moran will finish today after a police list and sentencing day in the Invercargill District Court.

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