Judith lived in the country and one of her memories of Matamata College was the long bus trips to and from school, especially on cold and frosty mornings – I’m sure many country kids would be of the same opinion!!
Hon Judith Collins has come a long way since her school days and since 2002 Judith has been a Member of Parliament.
Judith left school with six SC passes, University Entrance, Higher School Certificate and an A Bursary. In 1981 she graduated with a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B) from Auckland University and in 1987 completed a Master of Laws Degree with Honours (LL.M (Hons)) from Auckland University and in 1984 gained a Master of Taxation Studies (M.Tax.S.).
At school Judith had a range of cultural strengths including being a member of the debating team, the orchestra and choir, being awarded the Schofield Elocution Cup, winning the Matamata Rotary Prize for Best Essay (on Nationalism) and in her 7th Form year earned the Sgt-Pilot Graham Steele Memorial Cup for History. Judith also played school netball.
She remembers Mrs Pip Simpkin as a standout teacher – strong and inspirational. Like many others the beautiful school grounds have stuck in her mind and also the successes of the College A Netball and the 1st XV Rugby (George Simpkin’s era!)
Judith has more than 20 years professional experience as a lawyer – including ten years as owner of her own legal firm, Judith Collins and Associates. Prior to becoming an MP, she had been:
- 1999-2002 Chair of the Casino Control Authority
- 1999-2001 Housing New Zealand Limited Company Director
- 1998-1999 President of the Auckland District Law Society,
- 1999-2000 Vice-President of the New Zealand Law Society
- 1998-2000 Savoy Equities Limited Chairman
- 1998-2000 Dairy Brands Limited Director
- 1998 Company Director and Chairperson
- 2002 Member of Parliament (Clevedon to 2008 and currently Papakura)
As a Member of Parliament Judith has had a number of portfolios including:
- Minister of Justice (includes responsibility for the Law Commission)
- Minister for ACC
- Minister for Ethnic Affairs
- Minister of Police (includes responsibility for Serious Fraud Office)
- Minister of Corrections
- Minister of Veterans’ Affairs
Judith campaigned successfully to force an Inquiry into the effect of Agent Orange on War Veterans. She has been awarded Ex-Vietnam Veterans’ Association Pin (2004), Ex-Vietnam Veterans’ Association Badge (2008), and Honorary Membership Sappers’ Association (2010).
When asked what influence her school days had on her life Judith said Matamata College acknowledged and celebrated success and high standards of behaviour were expected. Also attending a school with such a diverse catchment of students meant that one learnt to respect others – regardless!
Judith lives in rural South Auckland with her husband and son James.