A pair of legal eagles
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.