A former Whanganui man will start "moulding and shaping society and effecting public good" following his admission to the Bar on Friday.

Keepa Hipango, son of local lawyer and Whanganui District Health Board member Harete Hipango, felt a sense of "relief" after being admitted in Wellington last week.

The "very special" moment for the 23-year-old came after five years of study.

On Sunday, Mr Hipango was preparing to fly to Central America for six weeks of travelling before a four-month internship in New York.


He will be interning at the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

"We're sort of being told it's a sort of advisory role."

Mr Hipango expected to be involved in negotiations and advancing New Zealand's interests in the UN.

He has a full-time job waiting for him at Wellington firm Russell McVeagh when he returns.

"I'm very fortunate with how things have played out. The firm's being quite lenient in letting me sort of take this year to go and explore opportunities."

Born in Johnsonville, Mr Hipango grew up in Whanganui and spent some time in Taihape. His primary iwi affiliations are Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi, Nga Rauru, Ngati Apa, and Ngati Tuwharetoa.

While he will be working in Wellington, his desire to do good in his community extends to Whanganui, which is still his "papakainga", or home base.

He also called Whanganui his "turangawaewae", which means standing ground.

"For me, these words very much represent my enduring connection to Whanganui, its people and its river, Te Awa Tupua," he said.

Mr Hipango's work at Russell McVeagh would be around litigation and public law. Public and international law are both areas that interest him, as well as "the social aspect of law".

His admission on Friday involved going through the process both in English and te reo Maori, he said.

"There was definitely a Maori aspect to my admission, which is quite significant, I think, because my parents have sort of tried to raise us to walk in two worlds, essentially."

Mr Hipango, who studied at Victoria University, felt "a little bit of relief" when his study was over, and was happy having his family at his admission.

"They've supported me a lot.

"To go through with my peers, as well, was quite exciting. You start off at law school and you sort of picture yourself down the line. You see people that you know go through the same process. It's just a five-year build-up. When you get there it's just a weight off your shoulders. Then you take on a lot of responsibility.

"It sounds a little bit cliche, but [it's about] just being able to do good things in my community."