New judge courts Hamilton

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 13:34 04/08/2014
Simon Menzies
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ

CHANGING SIDES: Simon Menzies was sworn onto the District Court bench as a new judge on Friday at the Hamilton District Court. Judge Jan-Marie Doogue, right, officiated at the ceremony.

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Judge Simon Menzies has always had a good eye - from when he was young and excelling at tennis, to playing squash against Dame Susan Devoy in her prime. And winning.

That dedication and determination has continued to see him excel at law - practising for nearly 40 years before being sworn in as a judge on Friday.

Talking to the Waikato Times last week prior to his swearing-in ceremony in the Hamilton District Court, Menzies said after graduating at Victoria University in Wellington he spent two years working in a law firm in Christchurch before moving to Hamilton and settling in at lawyers Harkness Henry.

Supported by Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue, fellow Waikato judges, wife Julie, Australian-based sons Russell and Alan, colleagues and friends, Menzies' ceremony began with a powhiri and welcoming by judge Louis Bidios before a series of entertaining speeches.

Menzies told the Times his two years in Christchurch were long enough to meet his wife, Julie, before making his move to Hamilton and spending his career at Harkness Henry.

When asked why he chose law, he said he was never very good at science or maths, and he had friends heading towards law so he thought he'd follow.

"I haven't regretted it at all, but I think with anybody you have an expectation or a perception of what a particular career might be like. The reality is often very different and that applies across the board I think. I've thoroughly enjoyed the law."

As for what he enjoyed outside the office, Menzies said he played the guitar and golf.

"I'm very much a hobby musician, I'm interested in a number of sports, and play golf reasonably regularly, not particularly well." But Doogue revealed on Friday he was more than good and boasted a 14.1 handicap, though this might drop as he ensconced himself in his new role.

Menzies' Harkness Henry colleague and fellow lawyer Warren Scotter revealed not only was his friend handy with the golf club but also the tennis and squash racquets. He'd even beaten Dame Susan Devoy in her prime.

Menzies told the Times he is just looking forward to getting started, even if it will be a little different sitting facing counsel, rather than a judge.

belinda.feek@fairfaxmedia.co.nz Photos from the swearing in, page 12

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