Pictures of a naked judge apparently holidaying at a nudist camp were used to promote the resort without the judge's knowledge.
The pictures showing full-frontal nudity were posted on a public gallery of images advertising Pineglades Naturist Club.
In one, the judge was posing on a grass lawn. In another he was playing petanque.
The Herald on Sunday has chosen not to name the judge. The pictures were removed after inquiries from this newspaper.
"An image of [the judge] posted to a website without his knowledge has just been brought to my attention," said Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue.
Asked whether public use of the pictures would be considered a breach of the official Guidelines for Judicial Conduct, Doogue said: "The guidelines are intended as guidance for judges, and are not rules.
"Any issue relating to judicial conduct is a matter for the independent Judicial Complaints Commissioner. I am unaware of any complaint made to the commissioner in respect of [the judge]."
It is not known when the pictures were taken or how long they had been on the website but they had disappeared yesterday morning.
The judge has been in the headlines before, attracting criticism for giving a high-profile New Zealander name suppression in a controversial case.
Asked if the judge had asked for their removal, a spokeswoman from Doogue's office said: "The office has nothing further to add but notes that the images have been removed."
Pineglades president Chris Nee said yesterday that those photographed gave written consent that the club, which owns the copyright, could use them.
"It's a free world. Come and have a look at what we're all about. All the positive things never get talked about."
The Guidelines for Judicial Conduct warn that a judge, both in and out of court, attracts closer public scrutiny than other members of the community.
"The standing of the judiciary is adversely affected by conduct which, for others, might not attract serious criticism," they say. "Judges must therefore accept some restrictions on conduct and activities as a consequence of appointment."
The Office of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner has the power to investigate complaints but not to discipline judges.
Auckland University law professor Bruce Harris said his best guess was there would be a case to answer under the conduct guidelines. But the complex system, high threshold for complaints and judges' independence meant it was difficult to predict whether nude pictures would merit investigation.
Pineglades Naturist Club is at Rolleston, south of Christchurch.
Its website says: "We would like to welcome you to our little piece of paradise ...
"We might be close to the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, but we are miles away from the stresses of everyday life.
"Once inside our gate, we can show you how you can shed your stresses with your clothes."
There are baches and camping facilities, a swimming pool and spa and various sports facilities, plus a lively social calendar.
The judge could not be reached for comment.