Rosemary Monaghan, the Chief of the Employment Relations Authority, died on 19 April 2015 after a long illness.
Employment Court Chief Judge Graeme Colgan says Ms Monaghan was professional and discreet as well as objective and sensitive to human frailties.
“She was unafraid to make what might be perceived as unpopular decisions, but expressed them always in a way that left participants with their dignity intact.”
Judge Colgan says Rosemary was committed to improving the quality of the Employment Relations Act decision-making through her own leadership by example and through continuing education for her colleagues.
“Two of my colleagues, Judges Christina Inglis and Tony Couch, have spoken warmly of working closely with Rosemary on continuing education programmes … In our different ways we will all miss Rosemary enormously, but I know that her legacy to employment law relations will long endure,” Judge Colgan says.
Born on 27 November 1957, Rosemary completed an LLB at university and spent three years as an advisory officer with the Department of Labour's Industrial Relations Service. She moved to work for profesional information publisher CCH and from 1985 to 1987 she was editor of the publications New Zealand Employment Law and the New Zealand Employment Law Guide.
She worked in private practice at the Auckland law firm Fortune Manning, and from 1987 to 1989 she was Legal Officer for the New Zealand Airline Pilots' Association. She moved to the Auckland Employers and Manufacturers' Association in Auckland in 1989 where she was Solicitor/Advocate. She left in 1993 to work for Auckland law firm Fortune Manning before her appointment as an adjudicator and mediator member of the Employment Tribunal in March 1994.
When the Employment Relations Authority was established in 2000, Ms Monaghan was one of the first members appointed by then Labour Minister Margaret Wilson.
Rosemary served as a member of the Employment Tribunal until it was replaced in 2000 by the Employment Relations Authority. She was later appointed a member of the authority and served the authority continuously until her resignation on the grounds of ill health.
After a long period of service with the Employment Relations Authority, Ms Monaghan was appointed interim Chief in September 2013 upon the resignation of Alistair Dumbleton. She was appointed Chief in July 2014.
ERA Deputy Chief James Crichton says Rosemary was the logical choice for the role and was held in high esteem by all of her colleagues, practitioners, lay advocates and parties who appeared in her meetings.
“When Rosemary became Chief of the Authority, we all thought that she was doing a terrific job and was making a difference to the way the institution was perceived in the profession and in the wider community.
“It was clear to us all that she really enjoyed the role of Chief, and felt that she could make a difference to the institution itself and to her colleagues by her activities as Chief. The fact that we had her as our professional leader for such a short period of time remains a source of considerable sadness for all of us,” Mr Crichton says.
By Elliot Sim, New Zealand Law Society.