John Adams

1961 to 1965

John was deputy head boy in 1965, was very involved in drama and musicals, he gained a credit pass in the University Scholarship exam, was awarded prizes for reading and drama, participated in hockey and was a member of the school choir.

On leaving school John attended Auckland University where he graduated with an LLB in 1970.  John has gone on gaining qualifications throughout his working career.  In 2010 he gained a MCW (Master of Creative Writing) with First Class Honours; in 2011 a Graduate Diploma in Arts (English) and is currently studying a Post Graduate Diploma in Arts.  John has been invited as a Visiting Fellow to Wolfson College, Cambridge University England in 2013 for a three month semester attached to the English Department.

His working life has taken him to Whangarei for a couple of years, then to Auckland from 1973 (Barrister from 1984) and from 1984-1995 he was a specialist Family Law Barrister.  From 1995 until the present, John has held the position of Family Court and District Court Judge working on a job share basis.

A dedicated professional, John has co-edited legal textbooks, presented seminars for the Family Court, the New Zealand Law Society and the Institute of Judicial Studies.  He is a member of the AMINZ (Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand).

John has published a poetry collection Briefcase which has been well reviewed and already reprinted after only six months.  A reviewer has written the following:

After an argument with his wife, Verity, Jason Button threw a stapler which struck her on the face. Is he guilty of violent assault? Or was it just a matter of bad luck?

Briefcase, the first book of poetry by Judge and poet John Adams, is a mélange of poems – in traditional and experimental forms – and other texts: affidavits, police reports, a sudoku puzzle, court transcripts, a menu, wills and commentaries.

A disordered novella in legal documents, brutal and amusing by turns, Briefcase superbly explores the role of language as a vessel for truth and an implement of justice.

And of the Author:

District Court and Family Court judge at Auckland by day, John Adams also has a Masters in Creative Writing from The University of Auckland and is a poet by night. He has been a long-time consulting editor of legal texts – such as the Butterworth’s Family Law series. The first draft of Briefcase was written during his Masters year in 2009.

John finds time to perform his poetry at gigs, in pubs etc, he is a current Board member of Toi Whakaari (New Zealand School) and was a former member of the Institute of Judicial Study.

John’s  younger son is a Plastic Surgeon and sadly his older son passed away in 1999.  John is married to a Barrister, Usha Patel; they enjoy theatre (of course) and tramping.  He is proud to say he has owned the same car for 20 years (over 300,000 km on the clock) and he visits Matamata regularly.  His parents, Gordon Adams and Betina (Betty) Adams OBE, remained in Walton, then moved into Matamata for their final few years.


29 May 2012

John has just been awarded “Best First Poetry Book 2011” by the NZ Society of Authors Award (New Zealand Post Book Awards) for his publication “Briefcase”.