Eddie Durie

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The Honourable
Sir Eddie Durie
Eddie Durie DCNZM (cropped).jpg
Durie in 2008
Justice of the High Court
In office
Personal details
Born Edward Taihakurei Durie
(1940-01-18) 18 January 1940 (age 78)
Spouse(s) Donna Hall

Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie KNZM (born 18 January 1940) is Chair of the Māori Council and was the first Māori appointed as a Judge of a New Zealand Court. He is regarded as leading legal expert on the Treaty of Waitangi. He is of Rangitāne, Ngāti Kauwhata and Ngāti Raukawa descent; John Mason Durie is his grandfather.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

He graduated with a BA and an LLB from Victoria University of Wellington in 1964. He holds honorary doctorates from Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University and the University of Waikato.[citation needed]


Durie was appointed a Judge in 1974 and then was the Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court from 1980–1998, Chairman of the Waitangi Tribunal from 1980–2004, and a Law Commissioner. In 1998 he was appointed to the High Court. He retired from the High Court in 2004, at which point he was the longest-serving member of the New Zealand judiciary.[2][3]

In the 2008 New Year Honours, Durie was appointed a Distinguished Companions of New Zealand Order of Merit which was later converted to Knight Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009.[4]

In 2009, Durie was appointed by Attorney-General Chris Finlayson to chair the Ministerial taskforce on the Foreshore and Seabed Act.[5]

In 2012, Durie was elected to the Maori Council and elected Co-Chair, a role he held until being appointed the sole Chair of the national body in April 2016.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Durie is married to prominent Maori lawyer Donna Hall.[7]

He is the younger brother of renowned Māori academic, Professor Sir Mason Durie.

On 13 April 2002, Durie's 8 month old adopted daughter Kahurautete ('Kahu') was kidnapped at gunpoint in Lower Hutt and held for $3 million ransom.[8] Kahu was found by police 8 days later, 660 kilometres (410 mi) away in Taumarunui.[9] Kidnapper Terence Ward Traynor was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment and released after serving 7 years.[10] The kidnapping was the subject of the 2010 film Stolen: The Baby Kahu Story in which Eddie Durie was played by George Henare.[11]


  1. ^ http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/rangitane/3
  2. ^ "Production Shed - Justice Durie". www.productionshed.tv. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  3. ^ "Complete list of all Judges — Māori Land Court". www.justice.govt.nz. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  4. ^ "Edward Durie and Kahu Durie". The Governor General. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  5. ^ New Zealand Law Society
  6. ^ "Waatea News | Podcasts". Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  7. ^ "Kidnapper set for freedom as victim turns eight". stuff.co.nz. 1 August 2009. 
  8. ^ "NZ judge's baby girl abducted". News 24. 14 April 2002. 
  9. ^ "Baby Kahu Found Safe And Well". scoop.co.nz. 21 April 2002. 
  10. ^ "Kidnapper set for freedom as victim turns eight". stuff.co.nz. 1 August 2009. 
  11. ^ "Parents of kidnapped baby Kahu angry over TV drama". New Zealand Herald. 29 July 2010. 

External links[edit]