Judge Carolyn Henwood—LLB 1971

Judge Carolyn Henwood has had a distinguished career as a judge of the District Court and Youth Court, and as a prominent supporter of the arts.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Laws from Victoria University of Wellington, Judge Henwood went on to become the first female judge of the District Court in Wellington. She has had a particularly prominent role in youth justice, serving as a Youth Court judge for many years, and has served on a number of government panels and published extensively on youth justice issues. Her expertise has been recognised on an international stage as well, thanks to leadership and convenor roles for a number of international conferences held in New Zealand, and a presentation in Washington, D.C. and at the University of Oxford.

In 2006, Judge Henwood was appointed as special adviser for the implementation of Te Hurihanga, a youth justice programme, which aimed at preventing re-offending by young people. She established and continues to chair the Henwood Trust, which provides independent policy advice and services to people and organisations working with young offenders. One notable example of the Trust’s work was its drafting of the Covenant for our Nation’s Children, which aims to protect children from violence, abuse, and neglect and was endorsed by a range of political parties and NGOs, including the Iwi Chairs Forum.

More recently, she served as the chair of the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service, which offered people a chance to be heard by an independent panel if they had historic allegations of abuse or neglect while in the care of the state before 1992. This panel heard from more than 1,100 people and made seven recommendations in 2015 to prevent future abuse and improve the way complaints are investigated.

In addition to her work in the judiciary, Judge Henwood has been involved in the theatre and arts sector for many years. She was a founding member of Circa Theatre in Wellington,  a foundation trustee of the Theatre Artists Charitable Trust, and she remains an active member of both organisations. She has also served as deputy chair of the New Zealand Drama School / Toi Whaakari.