Samoa’s Former AG Appointed National Public Defender of New Zealand

"The role oversees the legal management of New Zealand's ten offices and some 160 lawyers, working as Counsel for members of the community facing criminal charges"


Former Attorney General of Samoa, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, has been appointed the newly created position of National Public Defender of New Zealand.

The position works as a part of the Senior Leadership Team of the New Zealand Public Defence Service (PDS), led by Director Peter Hutchinson.

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The role oversees the legal management of New Zealand’s ten offices and some 160 lawyers, working as Counsel for members of the community facing criminal charges.

The ten branches are located from Dunedin to the North Shore of Auckland and include offices in Christchurch, Wellington, Hawkes Bay, Tauranga, Hamilton and four offices in Auckland.

On confirming the appointment in January, Director of Operations and Performance, Ms Elaine Hines confirmed that Lemalu displays all the competencies required of an excellent leader.

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“He is humble, collaborative, and values focused. He has excellent legal competencies and is a strategic and reflective thinker. He has established strong working relationships and will be an asset to the PDS Leadership Team,” said Me Elaine Hines.

As Ms Hines added, “I know you will join me in congratulating Hermann and supporting him in this new role.”

After completing his service in Samoa, Lemalu worked with his colleagues in the Crown Solicitor’s Office, Kayes Fletcher Walker, before being appointed the Public Defender of Waitakere in February 2021, a position he has held since.

The recent Waitakere District Court farewell and congratulatory lunch for Lemalu’s new position.

Lemalu started his legal career in New Zealand with the Crown at Meredith Connell in 2005, before entering the public defence service in 2009, where he served before his four-year term in Samoa started 2016.

New Zealand’s new National Public Defender said he credits family and community support for reaching this milestone and is looking forward
to the opportunity.

“This is a team of gifted, dynamic and hard working lawyers and support staff, and it is a privilege to be given the opportunity to work with them as we carry out this
important responsibility within the Justice sector…”

“I am very blessed and grateful to my family and friends for their unconditional support to date and onwards.”

Lemalu Hermann will be formally welcomed into the Auckland PDS office where he will be based, on the of 7th February.

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