Family Court open day provides key knowledge

Judge Stephen Coyle and Judge Christina Cook presided the event. Photo: Supplied.

It's a place which is often kept under wraps, but this week Tauranga Family Court opened its doors to community groups this week to give them knowledge on how the confidential process works.

Family Court navigator, or kaiarahi, Brenda Bremner says the open day was organised by Tauranga Kaiarahi Brenda Bremner and Reweti Davies, with their Honours Judge Stephen Coyle and Judge Christina Cook presiding, assisting was local Family Law expert Penni Eagle, Kaiarahi from the Central region and local Family Court Co-ordinators Vicki and Anna.

'The purpose of the open day was to show Community Groups, Organisations what happens in the Family Court so that when they are working whanau and individuals they can provide better information on Family Court process.

'The Family Court is a closed Court which means that public are not allowed to attend and watch, as the proceedings are for the parties only.

"However, parties are entitled to have support people with them, and parties are able to bring to court people who can assist them in ensuring that the court has the best information about parties' culture and the supports available to them, such as parenting supports, and drug and/or alcohol supports."

Community organisations attended the event. Photo: Supplied.

'At the open day, the Tauranga Judges enthusiastically encouraged Iwi, Community and Provider Groups who are providing support to those going through the Family Court to attend Family Court and let the Judges know what is happening for their clients.

'Attending from various groups across the Tauranga and wider areas were Te Tuinga Whanau, Merivale Community Centre, Maketuhauora, CAB, Welcome Bay Community Centre to name but a few, mock Court scenarios were played out, with those attending then being able to ask the Judges questions about the Family Court, and the questions were amazing!! This was followed by refreshments and guided tours of a Family Court and Mediation room.

'The Kaiarahi – Family Court Navigators are able to provide information about Care of Children Act/Custody, Family Violence, Oranga Tamariki, Divorce Family Court process and so much more, but unable to provide legal advice.”


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