The Chief Justice of New Zealand is Armenian Sian Seerpoohi Elias

The Chief Justice of New Zealand is Armenian Sian Seerpoohi Elias –

Dame Sian Seerpoohi Elias, born March 13, 1949, is the 12th and current Chief Justice of New Zealand, and is therefore the most senior member of the country’s judiciary. She is the presiding judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand. As Chief Justice, she also acts as the Administrator of the Government (acting Governor-General) when the position of Governor-General is vacant or if the Governor-General is overseas. Elias has held the position of Administrator of the Government from March 22, 2001 until April 4, 2001, and again from August 4, 2006, until August 23, 2006.

Born in London in the United Kingdom of an Armenian father and a Welsh mother (hence her Welsh forename and surname), Elias attended Diocesan School for Girls in Auckland. She completed a law degree from the University of Auckland in 1970, and then undertook further study at Stanford University. She took up employment with an Auckland law firm in 1972, beginning her career as a barrister three years later. She also served as a member of the Motor Sports Licensing Appeal Authority and of the Working Party on the Environment. She served as a Law Commissioner from 1984 to 1988. Elias is also known for her work in relation to various Treaty-related cases. In 1990, she was awarded a New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal in recognition of her services.

She was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1988 and a judge of the High Court in 1995. Justice Elias became Chief Justice in 1999, and was awarded the GNZM the same year. Dame Sian became a member of the Supreme Court on its establishment in January 2004.

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