Attorney-General David Parker has announced the appointment of Christopher John Dellabarca of Wellington, Dr Katie Jane Elkin of Wellington, Caroline Mary Hickman of Napier, Ngaroma Tahana of Rotorua, Tania Rose Williams Blyth of Hamilton and Nicola Jan Wills of Wellington as District Court Judges.
Mr Dellabarca commenced his legal career as a solicitor at Tripe, Matthews and Feist in Wellington. He became a partner at Wellington Family Law in 2007 and has been there since that time. In 2018 he was appointed by the then Minister of Justice as a member of the Independent Review Panel to report on the 2014 Family Justice Reforms.
Judge Dellabarca will be sworn in on 8 June 2023 and will take up his appointment at the Wellington District Court.
Dr Katie Elkin
Dr Elkin’s legal career commenced at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts in 2003. She left there in 2011 to take up a role as Chief Legal Advisor and then Associate Commissioner at the office of the Health and Disability Commissioner. She joined Ara Poutama Aotearoa (the Department of Corrections) in 2016 as Chief Legal Advisor and then as Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Corporate Services. Dr Elkin then joined the Crown Law Office in 2019 as Deputy Chief Executive, System Leadership, and then as a Deputy Solicitor-General. Dr Elkin has a PhD in law and public health and is a past president of the In-house Lawyers Association.
Judge Elkin will be sworn in on 12 May 2023 and take up her appointment at the Wellington District Court.
Ms Hickman’s legal career commenced as a Judge’s clerk at the Wellington High Court in 1992. She moved to Napier in 1993 before becoming a barrister sole in 2001. Most of her career has been spent in the Family and Youth Courts. She is presently the Chair of the NZLS Family Law Section.
Judge Hickman will be sworn in on 8 June 2023 and take up her appointment at the Palmerston North District Court.
Ms Tahana’s early legal career was with Simpson Grierson in Auckland before moving to Rotorua in 2010 with Gordon Pilditch as a Crown Prosecutor until 2018. She then joined Kahui Legal becoming a partner in that firm in 2019.
Judge Tahana will be sworn in on 15 April 2023 and take up her appointment at the Manukau District Court.
Tania Williams Blyth
After initially working as a solicitor in Hamilton with Norris Ward, Ms Williams Blyth established herself as a barrister in Rotorua and latterly Hamilton practising mostly in the family law area. Ms Williams Blyth has been a District Inspector for Mental Health since 2008 and a member of the Parole Board since 2014. She has been instrumental in working with iwi leaders and local communities around the country in an effort to increase knowledge and awareness of Family Court and Oranga Tamariki procedures.
Judge Williams Blyth will be sworn in on 10 June 2023 and take up her appointment at the Whangarei District Court.
Ms Wills’ legal career commenced in Wellington in 1988. She joined the Commerce Commission in 1995 and as in-house counsel with Transpower in 1998. She practised as a barrister in Thorndon Chambers between 1999 and 2014, having a wide ranging litigation and commercial practice during that time. In 2014 Ms Wills was appointed Director of Proceedings at the Health and Disability Commissioner’s office before joining Crown Law as Team Manager and Crown Counsel in 2017.
Judge Wills will be sworn in on 26 May 2023 and take up her appointment at the Wellington District Court.