Indian Lawyers Dinner

CHA Restaurant, Auckland
7 Sep 2007

Your Honours, Ladies and Gentlemen: Greetings, Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Taloha Ni

May I in particular acknowledge the co-ordinating team for this function of Shobhna Golian, Harjeet Golian, Usha Patel,Fazilat Shah, Mahesh Lala, Jaswin Gandhi and Nick Malarao who have assisted Judge Ajit Singh; Practitioners, Spouses;Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen. To you all I say: Namaste, Namashkar, Sat Sri Akal, Kam Cho.

First, I would like to thank you for inviting my wife Susan and I to attend the Indian Lawyers Dinner in Auckland this evening.  This, I understand is the second such dinner to be organised and it is so good to see so many familiar faces.

Secondly, it is particularly pleasing to see so many legal practitioners of Indian origin all in one place here tonight.  Your numbers speak volumes of how New Zealand's Indian community has changed. If a similar dinner had been held when I graduated with law degree in 1970, it would have been a much smaller gathering with Lalbhai Patel, Thakorbhai Parbhu, Raman Ganda, Kanti Balu and I probably being "it" for Auckland and when the national figure would have been fewer than twelve.

Your presence here tonight also reflects the increasing diversity of New Zealand's population.  The cultural, ethnic and religious mix in our country is changing rapidly.  More than one in five people living in New Zealand today were born overseas.   In 1901 about 80 percent of all overseas-born New Zealanders hailed from Britain and Ireland.  By the time of the 2006 Census, that had dropped to 28.6 percent—the same proportion as New Zealanders born in Asia.  The Indian population alone now stands at more than 104,000—a significant increase even on five years earlier.

This brings me to my third point, which is that diversity has not only enriched New Zealand's culture, but has also posed challenges.  As a Judge and Ombudsman, I am keenly aware of the challenges continuing to be posed for those involved in the law.

People in our increasingly diverse community all need adequate legal representation, whether that is in terms of property and commercial transactions, commercial and civil litigation, judicial review, or for those who have breached the criminal law. 

New migrants, in particular, who are often used to different legal systems, may find New Zealand's legal system baffling.  Assisting those people, so that they are fairly represented, is an onus on all those involved in the law—from the courts to law firms and individual practitioners.  The values of those new migrants may also conflict with the values of New Zealand's democratic and secular society and particularly its legal system.

I believe lawyers from the country's Indian community can play a key role in assisting New Zealand's legal system as it grapples with how to accommodate differences and values of those new to this country. May I offer a challenge for you to make your voice heard through participation in the New Zealand and district law societies, in submissions on law reforms and in other legal forums. 

In a rapidly changing society, there is also a need to engage with communities and to promote the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen in New Zealand's democracy.  Those with a legal background have much to offer in assisting community groups and by doing things like serving on local authorities and school boards. 

The best exhortation to be found for all of this, I suggest, is that of Mahatma Gandhi when he said "You must be the change you wish to see in the world".

Finally, I wish to commend the organisers and supporters of this evening.  Gatherings such as this are a fine opportunity through which to encourage young lawyers of Indian descent to participate in a fuller social, cultural and public life that reflects to some extent their heritage.

And on that note I'll close.  Thank you again for the invitation.  Dhanyavaad, Shukriya.

Tena koutou, kia ora, kia kaha, tena koutou katoa.
Back to Speeches

Tours of Government House Wellington for the public, schools and community groups are offered by our Visitor Centre.

Find out more.


  • Global Women International Women's Day Event
  • HM The Queen's Message to Christchurch
  • The Bledisloe Address - Waitangi Day 2017
  • Dame Patsy's New Year Message
    Dame Patsy Reddy - New Year Message
  • New Year Honours List 2017
  • Message from HRH The Prince of Wales
  • Message from HM The Queen regarding the North Canterbury earthquake
  • Messages from the Governor-General and Dutch King and Queen
  • Swearing-In Ceremony
  • Armorial Bearings - Sir Jerry Mateparae
  • Bledisloe Ballot 2017
  • Beer Braised Beef Cheeks
  • Queen approves honours for the Governor-General Designate
  • Boots the Cat - The Biography
  • The Governor-General's Anzac of the Year Award 2016
  • New Year Message
  • A Ceremony of Welcome in New Zealand
  • Charlotte Royale cake recipe
  • Charlotte Royale recipe - in honour of Princess Charlotte
  • Prince Harry - Visit Itinerary
  • Amazing Easter Wreath
  • The Governor-General's Anzac of the Year Award
  • Bledisloe Garden Reception 2015
  • New Year Message
  • Christmas Eccles Cakes
  • State Banquet for the President of China
  • Grilled Turbot Fillet and Cwmglyn Rarebit
  • The Governor-General and Government Formation After the Election
  • Government House Recipes - Orange and Olive Oil Syrup Cake
  • New Year message - 2014
    Governor-General's 2014 New Year message
  • New Year Honours 2014
    Queen honours New Zealand's best
  • Nelson Mandela
    Governor-General pays tribute to South African leader
  • Niue and the Cook Islands
    Visits reaffirm special relationships within the Realm of New Zealand
  • Badge of the General Fono of Tokelau
    Governor-General hosts ceremony at Government House
  • Leadership Week
    Governor-General leads the Sir Peter Blake Trust Dream Team
  • Matariki 2013
    Governor-General recognises the contribution of women
  • Coronation Diamond Jubilee
    The Governor-General looks back at the Queen's 1953 Coronation
  • AIDS Candlelight Memorial
    Message from the Governor-General
  • South Canterbury and North Otago Regional Visit
    20-23 February: An overview
  • Waitangi Day - 2013
    Governor-General and Lady Janine visit Waitangi and Auckland
  • New Year Message 2013
    Governor-General issues his 2013 New Year message
  • New Year Honours 2013
    New Zealanders recognised by The Queen of New Zealand
  • Birthday cake
    Secrets of Government House birthday cake revealed
  • Diamond Jubilee visit
    Royal couple to visit Auckland, Wellington, Manawatu and Christchurch
  • Royal reception
    Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall prepare for trip to downunder
  • New Zealand's Governor-General
    Government House publishes new booklet
  • 2012 London Olympic Games
    The Governor-General supports the NZ Olympic Team in London
  • Diamond Jubilee message
    The Governor-General's Diamond Jubilee message
  • Western Bay of Plenty regional visit
    The Governor-General makes his first official visit.
  • Open Days 2014
    Government House Open Days 2014
  • Christchurch and Canterbury Earthquake Anniversary
    The Governor-General's Programme
  • Waitangi Celebrations 2012
    The Governor-General's first Waitangi Day Programme
  • Governor-General's New Year Message
    Sir Jerry Mateparae issues his 1st New Year message - watch the video
  • State Opening of Parliament
    Governor-General announces the Government's plans
  • Speaker-elect confirmation ceremony
    Dr Smith confirmed as Speaker of the House
  • Appointment of the new Government
    The Governor-General appoints the new Government
  • Queen's Diamond Jubilee Emblem
    New emblem to mark the Diamond Jubilee
  • Rugby World Cup
    Message from the Queen of New Zealand on the All Blacks' victory
  • State Swearing-in of Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae
    A Government House short film
  • Royal NZ Navy 70th Anniversary
    The Governor-General hosted and attended associated events
  • New Zealand Gallantry Awards
    Government House has today issued a special honours list
  • One year on from the 4 September 2010 Canterbury earthquake
    Governor-General issues a message
  • Swearing in ceremony
    Sir Jerry Mateparae to become NZ's 20th Governor-General
  • Sir Paul Reeves
    New Zealand's first Governor-General of Maori descent dies
  • Visit by King George Tupou V of Tonga
    The Governor-General hosted a State Welcome for the King of Tonga
  • Māori King visits Government House
    The King plants a tree to mark the visit
  • Matariki
    The Governor-General's 2011 Matariki Message
  • The Royal Wedding
    Sir Anand and Lady Susan attended the Royal Wedding on 29 April
  • ANZAC Day message
    The Governor-General's message for ANZAC Day commemorations
  • The National Christchurch Memorial Service
    Details and photos are available here.
  • Christchurch Earthquake
    Governor-General offers the support of all New Zealanders
  • Canterbury earthquake
    World leaders send messages of support to New Zealand
  • Waitangi Day 2011
    Sir Anand Satyanand's last Waitangi Day as Governor-General
  • New Year Message
    Governor-General issues his message for 2011
  • Pike River Mine Tragedy
    World leaders send messages of support to New Zealand
  • Governor-General visits Canterbury
    A visit to support and encourage those affected by the earthquake
  • New Year Message
    Governor-General issues his message for 2010
  • Governor-General's 2009 New Year Message
    New Zealanders urged to volunteer