Chief Justice of New Zealand

The chief justice of New Zealand (Māori: Te Kaiwhakawā Tumuaki o Aotearoa) is the head of the New Zealand judiciary, and presides over the Supreme Court of New Zealand. The chief justice of New Zealand is also the chief justice of Tokelau.[2][3] Before the establishment of the Supreme Court in 2004, the chief justice was the presiding judge in the High Court of New Zealand, and was also ex officio a member of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand. The office is established by the Senior Courts Act 2016, which describes the chief justice as "senior to all other judges".[4]

Chief Justice of New Zealand
Kaiwhakawā Tumuaki o Aotearoa  (Māori)
Dame Helen Winkelmann

since 14 March 2019
StyleThe Right Honourable
NominatorPrime Minister of New Zealand
AppointerGovernor-General of New Zealand
Term lengthNo set term, though retirement is mandatory at age 70
Formation5 February 1841
First holderSir William Martin

The chief justice is first among equals among the Judges of the Supreme Court. They also act in place of the governor-general if one has not been appointed or if the appointee is unable to perform their duties. When acting in place of the governor-general, the chief justice is known as the "administrator of the Government".[5]

The chief justice is appointed by the governor-general, on the formal advice of the prime minister.[6] The current chief justice is the Rt Hon Dame Helen Winkelmann, who was appointed on 14 March 2019 to replace the Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias, who had reached mandatory retirement at age 70.[7]