Judge Sarah Lindsay, who was appointed to the Family Court in Northland in 2010, didn't want any fuss after her last sitting in Kaitaia on Tuesday. She wanted to slip away quietly, but she was overruled.

"That doesn't happen in Kaitaia," registrar Tania Parker said before a farewell lunch was served, although Tui Kapa suggested that the meal was actually a last-ditch effort to persuade her not to transfer to Christchurch.

If it was an attempt to change her mind it didn't work, but Judge Lindsay made it clear that she had very much enjoyed her eight years in the Far North, and hoped to take "a little of the North" with her to her new posting.

"There is a great wealth of humanity here," she said, "for all the difficulties and the need for financial resources.


"It's hard to live and work here without being affected. I was privileged to have been sent here."

She confessed to some trepidation on the day of her first sitting in Kaitaia, not eased by a slight altercation with a block wall in the courthouse car park, but Kaitaia was the court she held most fondly in her heart.

She had enjoyed a warm and mutually respectful relationship with the court staff and counsel, and her sittings in Kaitaia had become the highlight of the court calendar.

She had been impressed by those representing the various agencies that came into contact with the Family Court, not least for their degree of connectedness, and had "loved" the lawyers, whose diligent concern for their clients and the legal issues they faced had helped achieve the best possible outcomes.

She would also be taking her profound belief that every child mattered with her to Christchurch.

"Tamariki are our treasure," she said.

"I have never lost sight of the integrity of the child, parents and whānau, which must always be protected."

Simon Punshon, speaking for the Kaitaia bar, said Judge Lindsay was held in high esteem by counsel. She had the "loveliest" manner, and had always displayed kindness and empathy.


"It has been a privilege to have you here," he said. "Everyone who appeared before you was always treated very fairly."

Judge Lindsay's last sitting in Northland is in Whangārei today. She leaves for Christchurch tomorrow, meets the furniture truck on Saturday, will sit in Christchurch on Monday and then in Ashburton.

On Saturday week she will be at the airport to collect her son, police officer partner Peter Rankin, (formerly stationed in Kaitaia) and the family dog.