Children of Western Armenia: Sian Elias 

  • by Western Armenia, April 22, 2023 in Society

He is the 12th and current Chief Justice of the High Court of New Zealand. She is the longest serving member of the country’s judiciary. Sian Elias was born in 1949 in London. The father, Minas Elias, was a descendant of Armenians who survived the genocide against the Armenians, the mother was Welsh (hence the Armenian name and the Vlach surname). The parents moved to New Zealand when Srbuhi was only one year old.

From 1984 to 1988, Elias served as an Oakland County Law Commissioner. Engaged in social activities and gained a reputation for fighting bureaucratic arbitrariness. She is known for her handling of various cases related to the Treaty of Waitangi. In 1988, Elias became one of two women to be appointed Crown Attorney (the other being Lowell Hodard).

In 1990, she was awarded the New Zealand Commemorative Medal for her service to the country. Elias became a judge of the Supreme Court in 1995 and has served occasionally on the Court of Appeal.

In 1999, Elias became the first woman to become Chief Justice of the High Court of New Zealand (prior to that, the position was held only by men). From that time until recently, Elias was the Chief Justice of New Zealand. By order of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, Madame Sian officially held the position of Governor General of New Zealand three times when it became vacant.