It is a memory three wahine will carry with them for the rest of their lives - the day they set an example for the countless wāhine they hope will follow in their footsteps.

Yesterday, in front of Justice Matthew Muir, Katie Paul, Tyler Paki-Te Huia and Kalei Delamere-Ririnui took the oath and were admitted to the bar in the High Court.

The newly-minted barristers and solicitors now have a duty to uphold the law, which Justice Muir reminded them is the base of democracy.

"Without it, all that is left is the stench of corruption, wholesale human rights abuse and the impoverishment of all but the most venal and powerful."

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Having qualified in law over 20 years ago Katie Paul has said the time was right to be admitted to the bar. Photo / Supplied
Having qualified in law over 20 years ago Katie Paul has said the time was right to be admitted to the bar. Photo / Supplied

Having qualified in law more than 20 years ago Paul (Te Arawa, Mataatua) had spent time as a diplomat in South Korea among other things but said the time was right to make change for her people.

"I have had a great fulfilling career but you get homesick."

There is an over-representation of Māori in the justice system said Paul as she mulled over her new role, but she said to see three wāhine Māori on the other side of the court was an amazing feeling.

Kalei Delamere-Ririnui (from left) with Justice Muir and Annette Sykes. Photo / Supplied
Kalei Delamere-Ririnui (from left) with Justice Muir and Annette Sykes. Photo / Supplied

Sitting alongside not just three Māori but three women was an incredible moment to be part of said Delamere-Ririnui (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Whakatōhea, Te Whānau ā Apanui, Ngāti Awa).

"But in short, there isn't enough Māori who are taking up the challenge but I hope those numbers increase.

"I hope people will see us and realise they can make it too because in us three here today we are all at different stages of our lives so it can happen at any time for anyone."

Kiri Tahana (from left) admitted Tyler Paki-Te Huia at the High Court yesterday. Photo / Leah Tebbutt
Kiri Tahana (from left) admitted Tyler Paki-Te Huia at the High Court yesterday. Photo / Leah Tebbutt

Being admitted in Rotorua was a dream come true for Paki-Te Huia (Ngāti Maniapoto) and having her boss from Kahui Legal was an added bonus, she said.

"It was at university I realised Māori need advocates and we need more Māori leaders so since then I have always wanted to help."

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Admitting Paki-Te Huia reminded Justice Muir of the "great strides" which had been made to create a more diverse and representative profession.

"It is from this increasingly diverse pool the judges of tomorrow will come and perhaps with your outstanding credentials, I should even be putting you on the waiting list now," he said.

Justice Muir commended Paul on having the richest backstory of anyone he had ever admitted to the bar.

"You are one to watch in terms of leadership in your community and I will do so myself with a great sense of anticipation in terms of the contribution you will undoubtedly make."

Justice Muir told Delamere-Ririnui her great grandfather Sir Monita Delamere would be a very proud man.

"I know his influence was considerable in your choosing to follow a career in law and you show enormous promise."