Augusta Wallace (judge)

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Dame Augusta Wallace DBE (née Dunlop; 11 October 1929 – 12 April 2008) was the first woman in New Zealand to be appointed as a judge to the District Court in 1976; she served for eighteen years.

Georgina Catriona Pamela Augusta Dunlop[1] was educated in Howick School, Epsom Girls' Grammar School, and Auckland University where she graduated and was admitted to the bar in 1954. She practiced on her own account as a sole practitioner in Papatoetoe for 11 years.

In September 1975 she became the first woman to become a judge when she was appointed to the District Court bench.[2][3] She sat at the Auckland District Court for nearly fifteen years, transferred to the Otahuhu District Court for a short time, and finally was based at the Papakura District Court.[4]

Wallace had a long record of community service and extensive judicial experience. In 1990 Wallace was at the centre of a review into courtroom security after she was attacked by a 16 year-old with a machete while serving at the Otahuhu District Court and was seriously injured.[citation needed]


In 1993 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1996 she was appointed as a member of the Waitangi Tribunal by then Minister of Maori Affairs, the Hon John Luxton.[5]


Dame Augusta was Patron to a number of community organisations including Age Concern New Zealand, the Hope Foundation, and Victim Support. She was also a Trustee of the Child Development Foundation of New Zealand.[6]


She died in Manukau, Auckland on 4 April 2008, aged 78, following a long illness.[7]


She married Neville Alan Wallace, a career Army officer, in 1955; he retired from the Army in the 1970s, and qualified as a lawyer in 1976.[4] They are survived by a daughter and five grandchildren.


  1. ^ Name at birth as per London Gazette; accessed 26 March 2014.
  2. ^ Human Rights Commission
  3. ^ New Zealand Women in the legal profession
  4. ^ a b Obituary in Dominion Post, 17 April 2008, page B7
  5. ^ Appointment to the Waitangi Tribunal
  6. ^ Age Concern New Zealand mourns patron
  7. ^ "Dame Augusta Wallace dies". 14 April 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2011.