New Zealand Law Society - Nerissa Barber, Wellington Vice-President

Nerissa Barber, Wellington Vice-President

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Wellington branch President Nerissa Barber was elected Law Society Wellington Vice-President in April 2012.

Chief Legal Advisor at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Ms Barber finds that one of the many highlights of her current role is working with other people who also love working in the arts and heritage sectors, and enjoys making a contribution and a difference.

It’s a busy and varied role, which was essentially as start-up, as before her appointment the Ministry had no in-house legal counsel. An aspect of the role she enjoys is appearing in the Māori Land Court in claims for ownership of Māori cultural objects (taonga tūturu applications).

Visual art is a passion of hers. Ms Barber is a friend or member of just about every art gallery in the country including Auckland Art Gallery, Govett Brewster (Life Friend and member of the Foundation), Te Papa, Wellington Art Gallery, The Dowse, Christchurch Art Gallery (life friend), Dunedin Art Gallery (life friend). 

After graduating BA LLB from Victoria University, with a double major in German and History, Ms Barber was admitted in 1990. She worked for Brandon Brookfield, which became Simpson Grierson, before moving to Crown Law and then into the State Services Commission and other in-house roles.

She was elected Wellington branch President in 2010 after a year as Vice-President. That followed two years on the Wellington District Law Society Council.

As well as the arts, Ms Barber is interested in wine and food, walking, and claims she is “trying to get back into golf”. (Little recent progress has been observed in this endeavour, alas.)

Her husband, David Morriss, is similarly interested in things artistic. He studied almost every music paper going at Canterbury University in his BA and B.Mus., works as a classical music broadcaster with Radio New Zealand and sings as a bass soloist.

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