Grant of Honorary Life Membership

The awarding of honorary life membership is a recognition of an individual’s support for civil liberties both through their own efforts and through their work with the Council.

After a gap of some years we are pleased to award life memberships to three people. These three people have all contributed generously of their time and effort to the cause of civil liberties in New Zealand.

Nat Dunning

Nat Dunning is a barrister and solicitor and a graduate of Victoria University who has lived in Wellington all his life.

His first involvement with the NZ Council for Civil Liberties was about 1963 when Nat was 22.  At that time he undertook the role of secretary. Later he became Chairperson during the 1980s and was subsequently President for several years during the 1990s.

Nat has written numerous articles and prepared and presented a wide range of submissions to Select Committees. He continues to be a staunch supporter of the Council and of civil liberties in general.

Batch Hales

Through his long and unfruitful career at university Batch Hales managed to scrape together qualifications in English, German, education and history as well as social work and other more trivial pursuits such as pacifism, Men for Non-Violence, and writing poetry.

He has been involved with the Council for Civil Liberties from the 1980s to his retirement in 2014, during which time he edited more than 20 issues of ‘Civil Liberty’. He has written articles and made and presented submissions to Select Committees on behalf of the Council. He also served as Chairperson for several years in the 2010s.

Tony Ellis

Tony Ellis was born in Britain and has law degrees from Britain, Australia and New Zealand.  He had a wide and varied career before becoming a barrister in 1991.

Tony became a member of the NZ Council for Civil Liberties in the 1980s.  He served as Chairperson for several years during the early 21st century, and also hosted Executive Committee meetings at his Chambers for many years. Tony has made and also presented many submissions both on behalf of the Council and in his own name. 

He is the pre-eminent human rights lawyer in New Zealand, and is the first [and so far the only] New Zealand lawyer to have achieved a successful decision before the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Committee against Torture, or the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. He is the only defence lawyer in the world to have been invited to make oral submissions to the UN Human Rights Committee.

Tony now lives in Kawakawa and continues to be a strong supporter of the Council and of civil liberties in general.