Russell Fairbrother QC, only the second Hawke's Bay lawyer to hold the title of Queen's Counsel, studied law after following his girlfriend to university. The relationship with the girl barely lasted the first weeks in Wellington but his relationship with university lasted much longer.
And he's been busy lately.
The lawyer, turned Labour politician, returned to law and made national headlines after representing activist Tame Iti over his involvement with military style camps in the Urewera Ranges.
Mr Fairbrother was still in Parliament when news of the raids broke.
When he first saw the media coverage he assumed something very bad must have been happening in the Ureweras to justify the police's response.
He knew little more about the case than what he had seen in the media, until one evening he was sitting at home and the phone rang. Tama Iti, the Tuhoe activist at the centre of the raid, was on the other end.
When he agreed to take the case he was given 99,000 pages of evidence, which filled 100 ring binders. During the trial one of his colleagues hired two bedrooms, one room to store his files and another to sleep in. The 99,000 pages were filled with texts, phone calls and other surveillance collected by the police to justify the raids on his client's community.
The former MP said his personal views and law practice are different.
"I take lots of cases I don't like, but it becomes like fixing a car," he said. However, he liked Tame Iti.
"I haven't got a bad word to say about the man," he said. "When you meet him you are impressed."
Mr Iti lives in a house he is building himself and according to his lawyer, is as "fit as a buckrat". He grew up in a totally isolated Maori environment, where he didn't learn English until he was 10.
"Mr Iti does not live for money like others - his culture rules his life." He's also an "expert in theatre" with "absolute devotion to his cause".
"Everything he does is designed to challenge what you think, without ever providing any answers, this was the style of Iti's theatre. His whole life has been devoted to peaceful protest, which is the contradiction of these charges."
Mr Fairbrother now believes nothing anti-peace was ever happening in the bush and the police response was alarmist and unjustified. He said police held private citizens at gunpoint and if they knew what they were after they would have gone after it. He believed the case should have never made it to court.
"Lots of people have unregistered guns."
The Crown's theory was they feared Tuhoe members would fight back if their treaty claim was not successful, he said.
However, this purpose was never reasonable because the settlement would always be successful after the poor treatment of Tuhoe in the past, he said.
Mr Fairbrother said Mr Iti used hyperbole to emphasise his cause, just as a lawyer would use in court.
He had one regret from the trial: After the first day one member of the jury was removed because he had a blog supportive of Mr Iti's cause. Mr Fairbrother regrets not challenging the decision.
He said the sentence was harsh but the judgment was good and showed a New Zealand jury was capable of considering issues.
Mr Fairbrother said the raids brought about a rationalisation of New Zealand's search and seizure laws, after the government "rushed through as an overreaction the new search and surveillance act".
The way police reacted to the group was wound up by the media who scared the public with their reporting, he said.
So what next for Tame Iti? The activist and a number of other people affected by the raid were pursuing compensation.
"Tame will go on, he's a very strong family man."
And as for his lawyer?
'I'm glad I did it, but I'm glad I'm out of it. I've got a good job, I love my job and I hope I do this to the day I die."