Senior Honours Tie – the Right Hon Sir Andrew Tipping

26 May 2022

A former Supreme Court Judge, the Right Hon Sir Andrew Tipping (6706), has been awarded a Senior Honours Tie at Assembly by College Old Boys’ Association President Angus Dysart-Paul.

Recognised as one of the most distinguished graduates of the University of Canterbury’s School of Law and lauded for his major contribution to shaping law in New Zealand, Sir Andrew has served as a judge at the highest levels.

In 1986, he was appointed to the High Court, sitting in Christchurch. In 1997, Sir Andrew was promoted to the Court of Appeal of New Zealand and then appointed to the Privy Council. In 2004, he was chosen as an inaugural member of the Supreme Court of New Zealand.

Speaking from his home in Toronto, Canada – where he lives for six months each year – Sir Andrew has expressed his delight at being awarded a “great honour” by College, and talked about his prestigious court career.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve New Zealand as a judge and I am so pleased that this service has been recognised by the award made to me today,” he says. “I have found the experience of being a judge both challenging and rewarding. A democratic society is governed by the rule of law. Without the rule of law there can be no true freedom.”

Sir Andrew explains that “you must be able to be both caring but also dispassionate”, adding that “most of the decisions you make have a substantial effect on people’s lives”.

“So you must have a strong sense of justice, but also the mental discipline to apply the law, when that is the appropriate course. At the higher levels of the Court system you sometimes have to decide what the law should be, as opposed to what it is.”

While Sir Andrew left College 62 years ago, some things “remain vivid in my memory”, such as lunch in the Cloisters outside Harper House, not being allowed to walk on the Quad, and Current Affairs lessons with the “redoubtable Headmaster of the day, Reg Hornsby”.

He also recalls the “lovely walk through the Botanic Gardens to get to the Cricket and Hockey grounds” adding that “it is wonderful to think that most of those magnificent trees are still casting their shade on those who walk beneath them”.

Watch the presentation ceremony.