Auckland District Court Judge Robert Ronayne has died.

The former Tauranga lawyer was found dead at his Remuera home yesterday afternoon by police officers attending a sudden death event.

The 64-year-old's death was referred to the Coroner, a police spokeswoman told the Herald.

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In March 2013, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson said Ronayne would be appointed a Judge of the District Court with a jury warrant to sit in Auckland.

Ronayne presided over several headline-making cases, including that of Blues player George Moala who was found guilty of assault; a principal and her husband who pleaded guilty to siphoning more than $30,000 from a South Auckland school; and an Auckland professional who exposed himself to a jogger.

He spent the next seven years at Auckland District Court as his home court.

Chief District Court Judge Heemi Taumaunu said Ronayne had served the New Zealand public excellently.

"Judge Ronayne was held in extremely high regard and his judicial colleagues will remember fondly his flair, wit and tireless dedication to serving the administration of justice," Taumaunu said.

"My sincere condolences and those of Judge Ronayne's judicial colleagues are extended to his family and friends at this difficult time."

Ronayne joined the bench after 34 years of legal practice, primarily as a litigator.

He studied law at the University of Canterbury before being admitted to the bar in 1978.


He practised for nearly 20 years in Rotorua, after a time practising in Auckland.

In 1998, he joined a Tauranga law firm as a partner before moving on to become a senior Crown prosecutor in the district until 2013.

Ronayne was sworn in as a District Court Judge on March 22, 2013, in Tauranga.

He was married to Cameron Anne Coombes for almost 25 years and the couple had two children together in the early 1990s before separating in 2009.

Herald senior crime and justice reporter Anna Leask said: "It's saddening to hear about the passing of Judge Ronayne.

"He was always extremely fair in the realm of the District Court and our condolences are with his family."

To honour Ronayne, the Chief Judge met with judges and staff of the Auckland District Court and led karakia in Ronayne's chambers and elsewhere in the building.