5 Mar 2012

High Court judge Rodney Gallen dies

7:10 pm on 5 March 2012

One of New Zealand's most respected jurists and a man who made a huge contribution to Maori has died.

Sir Rodney Gallen, 78, from Havelock North was knighted in 2000 for his services as a judge of the High Court.

He was regarded by his peers as wise and humanitarian and his knowledge of Maoridom was highly-valued by New Zealand's judiciary.

Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias described him as a man of compassion who worked tirelessly for others and was deeply committed to the rehabilitation of Maori prisoners.

Sir Rodney was brought up on the East Coast and was fluent in Te Reo. He worked hard with Ngai Tuhoe to keep Lake Waikaremoana in Maori ownership.

He spent many years on the Mahi Tahi Trust, a health organisation which helps Maori inmates by immersing them in traditional cultural values.

In 2001 a report he wrote for the Ministry of Education recommended there be a tripartite agreement between the ministry, Te Puni Kokiri and the Kohango Reo Trust to ensure all organisations worked to support the Kohanga's kaupapa.