A pair of le­gal eagles

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By SIMON ED­WARDS

See­ing their daugh­ter Ataga’i be­ing ad­mit­ted to the bar to prac­tise law was ex­tra spe­cial for Whitby-based par­ents Io­sua and Wendy Esera – the swear­ing in coun­sel was Ataga’i’s brother, Mario.

Mr Esera Se­nior, the prin­ci­pal at Pe­tone Cen­tral School, and his wife, the prin­ci­pal at Evans Bay In­ter­me­di­ate, can now boast of two lawyers in the fam­ily.

Their son worked at Lower Hutt firm Thomas De­war Sriyanyi be­fore mov­ing to Lon­don to work for two firms there. He is about to join a prac­tice in Bris­bane.

Speak­ing out­side the High Court in Welling­ton after her swear­ing-in cer­e­mony in front of Jus­tice Miller, Ms Esera said it was in part her older brother who had in­spired her to take up law.

After sec­ondary school­ing split be­tween Aotea and Newlands col­leges here, and Samoa Col­lege, Ms Esera grad­u­ated with a dou­ble de­gree in ac­count­ing and law from Vic­to­ria Univer­sity.

She went to Ja­pan to teach English for two years and on her re­turn went into ac­coun­tancy work. But it was not for her.

‘‘Mario would joke I needed bet­ter work sto­ries,’’ she said, ‘‘so I went back to law school full-time.’’

She aims to take up fam­ily law in Welling­ton but at some stage also wants to prac­tise law in Samoa.

Her fa­ther, who is a staunch pro­moter of the value of pupils get­ting the chance to study in te reo Maori or the lan­guage of their Pa­cific home, is de­lighted his son and daugh­ter are in law and may thus in­spire oth­ers.

‘‘This is a feel-good story for the Pa­cific com­mu­nity, which is so often re­minded through the me­dia and ed­u­ca­tion re­ports that they are un­der­achiev­ers in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem,’’ Mr Esera said.

Two prin­ci­pals, two lawyers: Out­side the High Court after she was ad­mit­ted to the bar on Fri­day is Ataga’i Esera with her par­ents, Io­sua and Wendy, and brother Mario, who is also a lawyer.

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