Supreme Court judge Justice Joe Williams has been appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year 2020 Honours List.
“Sir Joe Williams has made an immense contribution to the elevation of Māori voices in the justice system. This honour is well-deserved,” Justice Minister Andrew Little says.
Sir Joe Williams was appointed the first Māori judge of the Supreme Court in 2019.
After graduating with an LLB from Victoria University in 1986, and an LLM(Hons) from the University of British Columbia in 1988, Sir Joe Williams joined Kensington Swan and established the first unit specialising in Māori issues in a major New Zealand law firm.
He was appointed Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court in 1999 and in 2000 he was appointed acting Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal, being permanently appointed to the role in 2004.
“Sir Joe Williams has brought a unique blend of legal intellectual rigour and tikanga Māori to his present role, and so reflects New Zealand in the 21st century," Mr Little says.
“Having been a Judge of the High Court since 2008, and of the Court of Appeal since 2018, it was only fitting he became a Judge of the Supreme Court earlier this year, and now is a worthy recipient of this knighthood."
Sir Joe Williams’ tribal affiliations are Ngāti Pūkenga and Te Arawa (Waitaha, Tapuika).