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Retired Court Registrars Association

Issue date: 
Saturday, 6 March 2010
Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO

I begin by greeting everyone in the languages of the realm of New Zealand, in English, Māori, Cook Island Māori, Niuean, Tokelauan and New Zealand Sign Language. 

Greetings, Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Taloha Ni and as it is the evening (Sign).

I specifically greet you: Richard Jopson and Mel Smith, stalwart members of the Retired Court Registrar’s Association; Distinguished Guests otherwise; Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is with great pleasure that my wife Susan and I welcome you to Government House in Auckland this evening for this reception for the Retired Court Registrars Association.

Throughout my career, as a law clerk while completing my law degree, then as prosecutor and defence counsel and later as a judge I saw at first hand the work of court registrars and court staff. 

The experience has brought home to me quite clearly that court registrars have always been cogs of our justice system.  The frustrations of the job are no doubt underscored by a remark in the Te Kuiti District Court in 1995.  When the clerk asked the defendant: “How do you plead to this charge?” the response was “Broke”. 

But seriously, when the public thinks of the justice system they no doubt think of the judges, lawyers, the police, victims and offenders.  Rarely, if ever, do they think of the court staff.  And yet without them, the court system would grind to a halt.

Court registrars are not only vital to the smooth administration of justice, but they also hold a position of trust.  Registrars, including deputy registrars, are statutory appointees and are able to exercise specified jurisdiction of the court.  In recent years, the matters that come within the registrar’s ambit have widened to free judges from dealing with more administrative matters.

In previous times, when many of you were court registrars, the holders of the position often fulfilled other statutory roles, particularly in smaller provincial centres.  In many towns, the local court registrar was also the returning officer for the local electorate or the registrar of electors while also acting as the local registrar of births, deaths and marriages.  That registrars of the High Court also hold the ancient title of “Sheriff” underscores the historical roots of the position.

As Governor-General, I thank you for your service and trust you enjoy the hospitality of this House.

And on that note, I will I close in New Zealand’s first language, Māori, offering greetings and wishing everyone good health and fortitude in your endeavours.   No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora, kia kaha, tēnā koutou katoa.

Last updated: 
Saturday, 6 March 2010

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