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Bankside Barrister Augustine Choi has been appointed to the board of New Zealand Asian Lawyers.

New Zealand Asian Lawyers was established as a subgroup of New Zealand Asian Leaders, which was started in 2013 to connect, inspire and grow Asian leaders across New Zealand. It will soon have a formal, standalone structure by which to better achieve its purpose.

The aim of New Zealand Asian Lawyers is to offer collegiality, guidance, and insight to the growing Asian legal community in Aotearoa. Foundation board members include senior and younger lawyers from private practice, government and academia.  

President and Chair Mai Chen said that the formation of the board was a critical step in taking New Zealand Asian Lawyers to a new level of influence:

“With one in nine of the legal profession identifying themselves as Asian, the role that New Zealand Asian Lawyers has to play now is vital to ensuring that the talents and expertise of these ethnically diverse Kiwis are fully utilised for the benefit of their clients, the justice system, government, business and the not for profit sectors.”

Augustine is a first-generation immigrant from Hong Kong, fluent in Cantonese and speaks Mandarin. He has been appointed a member of the Board’s Litigation Committee and will be one of New Zealand Asian Lawyers’ liaising members with the New Zealand Bar Association.

“Linguistic and cultural barriers to access to justice in New Zealand are very real for many Asian clients,” Augustine says. “Asian lawyers with linguistic advantages and who are familiar with those difficulties are an important part of reducing those barriers. But they could do with more help. I look forward to the support and advocacy that NZ Asian Lawyers will be able to offer its constituents in the coming years.”

The Board has been appointed for one year after which there will be a review.