Hana Ellis, Class of '87 District Court Judge
Wednesday, July 1
Judge Ellis has been appointed a District Court Judge with Family Court Jurisdiction, based in Whangārei. She was sworn in at the Manukau District Court in March this year.
She attended Westlake Girls from 1983 – 1986 together with her twin sister Ngarino, before heading overseas and undertaking extramural study at Massey University at the end of Form 6, and then heading to the University of Auckland to begin a conjoint art history and law degree.
She has family history at Westlake as her mother Elizabeth Ellis taught there as an art teacher in the 1960s and her nieces and nephew have attended Westlake also. She loved art and languages while at Westlake and was particularly influenced and inspired by her art teacher Sue McBride and English teacher Dr Pam Laird.
Judge Ellis commenced her career as a barrister in 1993 undertaking District and High Court work. She followed this with three years as a solicitor at the Māngere Community Law Centre, before working as a law firm associate for Recordon & Co for four years, practising in criminal, civil, ACC, family, tribunal and mental health matters.
From 2001 - 2010 Judge Ellis was a partner at Otene & Ellis, specialising in family law and mental health matters, as well as being appointed as Lawyer for Child and Lawyer to Assist. From 2010 she practised as a barrister in South Auckland specialising in family law and mediation.
She says that she enjoyed her years at Westlake and it gave her a stable grounding for her studies at university and the confidence to try new things and enjoy and celebrate life.