Court sittings around the country ground to a halt today as about 1500 staff around the country walked off the job for two hours demanding higher pay.
Court hearings were halted in some areas as workers held rallies between 10.30am and 12.30pm.
The Ministry of Justice has offered a 5 percent pay rise over two years but but staff say that doesn't fairly value the work they do.
They will continue working to rule and taking other industrial action for the next month.
In Wellington, about 150 workers marched, carrying placards saying 'Show us respect' and 'Where's the justice?'.
Jared Doe, who works at the High Court in Wellington, said the probate team he is part of processes wills from all over the country and in the last year alone the number of files handled had grown by 2000.
He said workers were fed up as they had been waiting for an offer from the ministry but the only response has been a proposal, not a firm pay offer.
"It's terrible.... you think of the big salary the CEO is making and then look at people on the frontline dealing with sexual assault victims, victims of serious crimes and those roles are some of the ones the ministry wants to devalue.
"So you've got people seeing harrowing stuff and typing it up every day and they're getting told their role isn't valued any more [and their pay band] is going to go down."
Mr Doe said on the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage staff also want the ministry to reduce the 15 percent gender pay gap.
The Ministry of Justice has been asked for comment.
In Auckland, Avisha Prasad said she was is passionate about her job but that was not recognised by the ministry.
"There is about a 15 percent difference between men and women and that's really unfair because all of us do the same amount of work; so to have the gender gap lessened would be preferable."
Tatiana Daniels, who works at the Auckland District Court, said the pay gap was "huge".
"Only about a third of people say they feel valued in their work and we don't think that's OK. We're asking to be valued and we're asking for more safety."
Sarah Herbert said she had always been passionate about justice and equality but did not see that reflected in her workplace at the High Court at Auckland .
"I feel like the team members .... make me feel valued, but in terms of [what] the ministry shows us, how they pay us, the workload that we have, it can be quite hard to feel valued in your job sometimes."
PSA union organiser Nerinda Cropp said nearly 70 percent of court staff are women, and most earn between $45,000 and $50,000.
Ms Cropp said many jobs in the courts involved considerable stress.
"A lot of what they hear is about violence being visited upon women, and murders, and some of the terrible crimes against children and they're hearing all the details of that. And that's a lot to have to deal with."