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New Chief District Court Judge takes oath at Whale Rider location

The new Chief Judge of the District Court has taken his oath to serve New Zealanders in the same place Whale Rider was filmed.

Judge Heemi Taumaunu becomes the head of the largest court in Australasia and the first Māori in the role.

Many of the country's top judges attended a very special court sitting in the tiny village of Whāngāra, where he's from.

Hundreds of people were welcomed at Whāngāra Marae for the special court sitting to mark Heemi Taumaunu's appointment as the Chief District Court Judge.

He says it was important to bring the occasion home.

"I think sends a signal that we are the district court is the peoples' court," Judge Taumaunu said.

Whānau pride in his achievement made sure they did the event justice for dignitaries and his east coast iwi.

More than 60 judges from across all benches were present to witness the new Chief Judge of the District Court take his oath of office.

The court is the face of justice for many New Zealanders and the judgements it issues change lives.

That responsibility ultimately rests on Heemi Taumaunu's shoulders.

"I Heemi Taumaunu swear that I will well and truly serve her majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors according to law," he declared. 

He has a huge job ahead but today was about celebrating with colleagues and whānau.

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Judge Heemi Taumaunu becomes the head of the largest court in Australasia and the first Māori in the role. Source: 1 NEWS