His love of cars and music was amusingly revealed at Judge Duncan Harvey's final sitting.
In between the fits of laughter, everyone who spoke thought it would be remiss not to mention the protocols he developed to make it easier for victims of sexual violence to give evidence at jury trials.
That initiative, developed in conjunction with lawyer and now Whangārei MP Emily Henderson and with support from the bar and bench in Northland, was adopted at other district courts around New Zealand.
A special sitting was held at the Whangārei District Court on May 21 to mark the retirement of Judge Harvey after 15 years on the bench.
But he's not quite retired as he's accepted a two-year temporary warrant.
Chief District Court Judge Heemi Taumaunu presided over the sitting and was flanked by Chief Judge of the Court Martial Kevin Riordan, and Judges John McDonald and Keith de Ridder.
Judge Harvey, who is also a judge of the Court Martial, recalled arriving in Whangārei on April 2, 2006, in pouring rain and the taxi van he caught to take him to his hotel sounded like it was on its last legs.
At the time of his appointment, there were no promises made to him but there was a general understanding that after being in Whangārei for a few years, he might be able to move.
"During the past 15 years, there have been many changes. Looking back, there's one thing that I am very proud of and that is the changes we've made in the way we deal with cases involving serious sexual violence."
Judge Harvey paid tribute to his wife, Dr Lynne Harvey, and their children, who have all pursued a career in law, and those in the legal profession for their support.
Judge McDonald regaled the audience with a story about Judge Harvey hopping into a car to travel outside Whangārei on circuit, only to hop out and complain it wouldn't start.
He was advised that it was an electric car.
Crown Solicitor Mike Smith spoke about the retired judge's outward display of inward thinking and lawyers having learned a lot from the way he ran the courts.
Then came the revelation about Judge Harvey's love for music.
"My understanding is that in the quiet seclusion and security Your Honour is known to enlighten the room with the dulcet tones and songs from that great talent of Britney Spears.
"My sources tell me that it is indeed a talent. Please don't hide that talent anymore, Sir."