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Anne Gambrill (nee Shorland) CNZM


Inducted 2013
Student at Marsden 1939 (Lower School) – May 1951 (Lower VIth/ Year 12)


Receives this award in recognition of her service to the judiciary in her role as Master of the High Court and the first woman to sit on the High Court bench.

Following family tradition, Anne followed her father into the law in 1960. She was the 48th woman to be admitted to the bar since 1897. She practiced as a solicitor and in 1971 became a partner in her husband’s firm.

As Master of the High Court, Anne dealt with a wide variety of legal matters - civil litigation, bankruptcy, company law and disputes arising from commercial disputes (many as a result of the 1987 stockmarket crash). She retired from this position in 2002 and was awarded a CNZM for her services to the High Court. 

Having been appointed to the Insolvency Court in 1999, Anne’s work continued there as it did to the Legal Services Agency Review Panel. 

Within the community Anne is a founding member of Zonta Club of Auckland, a committee member of the Laura Fergusson Trust and was Chair of the Auckland Branch of the Old Girls Association throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In this capacity she encouraged the creation of the school register as a community tool and supported the School Archives. 

Anne has been a strong exponent of women and the law being the founding chair of the Auckland District Law Society Women’s group (later to become the Auckland Women Lawyers Association). Although criticized for being tough on women in the law, in her view it is “essential that when you are small in number and noticeable that your performance must be of the highest quality ”

In business and legal circles Anne Gambrill has been known for her outspokenness and directness on matters concerning the court. At her valedictory hearing, Raynor Asher QC commented “your record on appeal shows that you almost always got it right. You march without hesitation to your own tune…you had opinions and you never hesitated to share them”