Michael John Albert (Mick) Brown CNZM

Born 19 August 1937, died 2 April 2015, aged 77

Born in the Far North, Mick was affiliated to Ngati Kahu, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa and Ngapuhi. His father was elderly and his mother died from tuberculosis when Mick was one year old. He was subsequently fostered by the Flood family in Mt Albert. Brown’s knee was affected by tuberculosis, and he spent three years between 1948 and 1951 at

the Wilson School for disabled children in Takapuna.

At Mount Albert Grammar School he did well academically and was in the First XV from 1954-1956.

Mick initially pursued a career in teaching, but he was drawn to the law by a love of debating. He studied law at the University of Auckland, and after practising in

Auckland, Mick was appointed as a judge of the District Court in 1980, becoming the first Māori to hold that position.

In 1989 Mick was appointed the first principal judge of the Youth Court, a specialist division of the District Court, and held that office until 1995. He led the transformation in the way the justice system managed young offenders. His changes are credited with significantly improving outcomes for youths and families, and have since been emulated throughout the world.

Mick served as a member of the University of Auckland Council for 15 years and was the university’s chancellor from 1986 to 1991. He was also pro vice-chancellor (Maori) at the university until 2005.

Brown was awarded an honorary law doctorate by the University of Auckland in 1992. In the 1996 Queen’s Birthday Honours he was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Youth Court, education and the community. In 2002, he received a distinguished alumni award from the University of Auckland, and in 2013 he was awarded the Blake Medal for leadership by the Sir Peter Blake Trust.

A community and socially-minded man, Mick was vice-patron Auckland Cricket Association, involved with the Child Development Foundation, Chairman Alcoholic Advisory Council, and a member of various other charitable trusts. He remained fond of his old school, and regularly attended MAGS’ old boys’ lunches and events.

Mick married Te Hana Paniora and the couple had five children. Hana died in 2004.