The Association’s annual luncheon was well attended, and those present enjoyed good company, an excellent meal...and an enlightening address by Manukau Crown Solicitor, Natalie Walker, one of 15 currently in New Zealand, the fourth woman to hold the office and the second youngest of all.
Natalie first explained New Zealand’s unique system of Crown Solicitors, each warranted to prosecute serious cases on behalf of the community. A former partner in the firm of Crown Solicitors for the whole of Greater Auckland, Natalie left to join two others creating a new partnership, Kayes Fletcher Walker Ltd, intending to specialise in criminal defence work. But when the Government decided to appoint a new Crown Solicitor for South Auckland based at Manukau, the partnership tendered, and secured Office.
At Sunday’s luncheon, Natalie Walker then went on to describe the many tasks connected with ramping-up operations first in Auckland City, then at Manukau City, and fulfilling the company’s ideal… to be firm, fair and diverse.
Natalie Walker and President Selwyn Haworth at the Annual Luncheon
“Our mission was to be firm and fair in our approach towards prosecutions. And diverse in dealing with the many cultures of South Auckland, reflected in choice when recruiting staff and how we go about our business dealing with people. In the 2 years we have been up and running we have achieved our objectives. Half the staff-members are women together with a range of those nationalities which help make up Manukau’s diverse community. And although there was no template to follow as we went about setting up a new Crown Solicitor’s office, we don’t seem to have had many complaints even though it's a very busy operation. Planning, hard work and long hours in the early stages have paid off”.
Natalie praised Justices of the Peace, noting they voluntarily provide essential service within the justice system in New Zealand, largely unacknowledged and unthanked.