Tekatau (Tau) Bio
- Tertiary Achievement in Pacific Ako Award
Tekatau, or Tau as she’s known, is a barrister and solicitor working at Carlile Dowling in Napier, specialising in family and immigration law. She is also the first woman of Kiribati heritage to be admitted as a barrister and solicitor to the High Court of New Zealand.
Tau is a University of Waikato law graduate who had her heart set on practicing both immigration and criminal law, but once she started picking up family cases she found she got immense satisfaction from helping victims, mostly women, get out of violent relationships, or by helping make their and their children’s situations safer.
She also represents clients with mental health issues. “I see a lot of life that a lot of people don’t see, and my clients come from all walks of life,” she says. “It’s hard not to take your work home with you. I’m still working on the ideal work-life balance.”
In addition to her legal work, Tau is a certified translator and interpreter for the Kiribati community. While she grew up in New Zealand, the eldest of six children, Tau’s parents are from Kiribati and Tau reads and speaks the language fluently.
She’s glad she chose to complete her law degree at Waikato. “I didn’t start my degree there. I spent my first year down south, but I wasn’t happy. I didn’t like being so far away from my home and family in Te Kuiti and I didn’t find the atmosphere very collegial, so I found out what Waikato could offer and transferred. It was the right choice. I liked the atmosphere and the collegiality I found at Waikato.”