We have a lot of exceptional people across Parry Field Lawyers and are delighted to officially welcome the newest member of our West Coast team.

Maria Smith has joined our Hokitika office providing support to clients on a range of matters including rural, residential and commercial property.

She’s spent the past eight years working in a mid-sized Dunedin law firm and grew up, and studied, in Otago.

“I am really enjoying Hokitika, and the wildness of the West Coast,” Maria says. “I particularly notice the warmth of people here and the relaxed pace. It’s great.”

Maria is also enjoying the diversity of work and meeting new clients.

“I think that’s why Parry Field is such a good fit for me – to be able to take the time to really get to know clients. There are clients from Otago that I will miss a lot but I’m looking forward to making new connections here.”

Background in planning

Admitted to the Bar in early 2021, Maria began her career in architectural draughting.

She then decided to do her law degree when she developed an interest in planning and the Resource Management Act.

Initially Maria studied law part-time and says once she’d completed her degree it was clear it wasn’t planning but the law itself that became her main interest.

“Basically, I’m keen on supporting people with property transactions or leases, Powers of Attorney, wills, estates and trusts, ” she says.

“I like being able to help and this work allows me to do that and be in the background getting things done.”

Maria takes over from the good work in Hokitika by solicitor Zahra Rafyee who has now moved to Christchurch based in our Riccarton office.


Trends on Coast

Our West Coast-based Partner Joseph Morris says there has been a steady increase in residential property sales over winter and it’s been a busy first half the year for the team there.

“We are seeing an increase in rural work, and we also have a number of new clients that have family trusts, in light of the new Trusts Act 2019,” he says.

“We have had very good feedback regarding the Trust Management Service that we have introduced at Parry Field.”  Joseph says it’s an opportunity to make sure that clients’ family trusts are up to date and fit for purpose.

The Act came into force in January 2021 and is the first major trust law reform in New Zealand for decades. There’s further information on our website with a Practical Guide to Family Trusts or guidance on the Impact of the Trusts Act 2019.

Get in touch with Maria or any of our Coast team: Maria Smith – Parry Field Lawyers. 

Parry Field Lawyers has expanded its offering to clients with the opening of a fourth office and a return to the Christchurch CBD, for the first time since the 2011 February earthquake.

It’s nearly 12 years to the day since our team, along with others, were trapped on the upper floors of the 17-storey Forsyth Barr building in Colombo Street and had to be rescued by crane.

The new offices on the first level of the PWC Tower in Cashel Street have been officially opened by Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger, who thanked the firm for its ongoing commitment to Christchurch and in particular for the decision to return to the heart of the city.

“It’s investment by businesses like yours that help drive our economy and support the community,” he said. “Thanks for all the work you do as a legal team to remove barriers and find solutions for your clients.”

The Mayor also congratulated Parry Field on the choice of location by the Bridge of Remembrance. The building at 60 Cashel Street was one of the first significant rebuilds after the earthquake and was designed to 130% of the Building Code.

“It’s a great example of the determination to build better – to create work environments that are safer, stronger, and smarter.”

Parry Field’s Chair, Kris Morrison, formally welcomed the Mayor and guests to the opening, saying the partners are very thankful to all those who have been clients, advisors, friends and supporters of the business over many years.

“It’s a significant moment for us to re-opening city offices.  Up until 22 February in 2011 Parry Field had had offices in the Christchurch CBD continuously from or very close after its original founding in 1948.”

He recalled the moment the earthquake struck; looking from the 15th floor at the huge cloud of dust coming over the city and the wait, eventually being rescued by crane.

“Looking over the edge of the balcony, we had some trepidation about climbing over and into the crane basket, but when it arrived, we climbed in. The trip to the ground was surprisingly quick and smooth. It felt as comfortable as an ordinary lift ride.”

Thinking back to that day and the loss and damage in the earthquakes, he said it is encouraging to see what progress there has been. “It has been exciting to see the return of business and life to the central city over the last few years in particular, and it is exciting to be joining that return ourselves.”

Opening a fourth office is also a reflection of the growth the firm has experienced – from a team of 25 staff a decade ago, to more than 80 now, including an office in Riccarton, and regional offices in the Selwyn district and on the West Coast in Hokitika.

“One key principle for us as a law firm is that we always want to be and feel accessible to our clients. We want them to feel that they can call on us at any time.  For many of our clients our Riccarton offices are convenient, but a significant number of our clients and the other professionals that we work with, are now based in the CBD, so we trust that it will be helpful for them that we are once again back in the heart of the city.”

He thanked those involved in fitting out the premises including architect Malcolm Orr and Project Manager, Russell Hatcher. “We love the way the offices have come together.”

Further information: Lawyers rescued from earthquake-damaged tower’s top floor move back to town | Stuff.co.nz

The festive season is underway and with it come the Christmas work parties that are a great way to celebrate a successful year and thank your employees.

But there are risks for employers at Christmas work events, especially where alcohol will be served.

It’s important that you are aware that you may be liable under Health and Safety legislation, even if the work party is held off-site.

What the legislation covers

Employers are required to provide employees with a safe workplace, protecting them against harm.

The Act is clear that employers must, “so far as is reasonably practicable” ensure that the health and safety of employees is not put at risk.

In the case of a work party where alcohol is being served, there is increased potential for that to affect someone’s behaviour and put others at risk.

For more information on the steps you might need to take,  refer to our article on this issue or get in touch with one of the Parry Field Lawyers Employment Team.

Almost 6 years to the day since Parry Field Lawyers opened its office in the Selwyn District, the firm has officially moved into new larger premises at 80 Rolleston Drive.

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton was on hand for the ribbon cutting and celebration.  He praised Parry Field for having the foresight to base itself in a region which has just been confirmed as the fastest growing in the country and now has just under 80,000 people, with more new residents than anywhere else in New Zealand.

“I want to congratulate Parry Field Lawyers for what may have seemed like a courageous decision all those years ago to set up an office and being here to serve the community,” the Mayor said. “I wish you all the best in your roles but also as a business. You continue to have a name that’s respected in our community, so thanks very much and well done.”

Parry Field Lawyers Selwyn team including (l-r) Judith Bullin, Ruth Johnson, Tracy Stanners, Cora Granger, Whytney Parker and Paul Owens

Partnership Chair, Kris Morrison, says it’s exciting to see the team and services in Waikirikiri Selwyn grow as the region has. With several partners and other key staff based in the district, he says Parry Field already felt there was an established relationship and connection with the area, and it has seemed like a natural fit for the business.

The other important aspect of Parry Field’s decision on office locations is all about accessibility.  “Often you hear that people feel lawyers are up in their ivory towers and there’s some sort of mystique about going to see a lawyer. That’s not really our ethos,” he told the guests at the opening.

“We’ve always wanted to be accessible to our clients, so being able to be closer to them is really important to us.  From what we’ve seen people appreciate not having to drive into Christchurch for a lawyer visit.”

He said Parry Field is planning to continue its work to support local businesses with a series of complimentary free ‘check-ins’ for new start-ups in the district.

“We want to work with them to make sure they’ve got all the bases in place that they need.”  There’ll be more details on the initiative in the New Year.

Further information: enquiry@parryfield.com or you can get in touch directly with one of our team in the new Selwyn office. 

Much like a criminal investigation, when an employment matter is raised in a workplace, every case is different – and the approach to solving each matter will be different too.

Understanding when it’s best to have an independent investigation or just have one of your own team ask a few questions can make all the difference to the outcome and speed of resolution.

Trust and confidence in the investigation process is key for employers, who will need to manage perception of fairness not only by the parties involved but the wider team, and potentially other external stakeholders.

Typically, investigations will be necessary when an employer receives a complaint or has concerns about bullying, sexual harassment, or other misconduct.

Calling in independent assistance may be the wisest course of action for several reasons, including the nature and volume of allegations made, or who any the allegations are made against.

Employers often won’t have the time or expertise to investigate to the level that might be required, or to provide a line of sight to all potential legal risks in any course of action.

Workplace investigations – what to expect

Once an independent investigation starts, terms of reference will usually be drafted as a first step. This might seem a formal process, but these are important as they provide a ‘road map’ for any investigation. They’ll set out things like how the investigation is to be approached, scope of the enquiries, how interviews will be held and timeframes.

The investigator would then meet the complainant, respondents or any other witnesses to interview them and understand the key relevant information.  A written report would then be drawn up with findings and recommendations to provide confidence in the next steps.

Adding value

One other valuable aspect of an investigator’s role during employment investigations is to guard against accusations of bias. Using someone independent to complete an investigation means you can demonstrate objectivity, which sometimes just isn’t possible with internal investigations.

Legal specialists can also offer expertise in some of the more specialised areas of employment law, such as bullying, harassment and sexual harassment, dedication to client service, professionalism, integrity and commitment to community.

Further information:  parryfield.com/employment

Parry Field Lawyers is pleased to announce the promotion of our newest partner, Doris Tu, effective from 1 October.

Doris is a leader in the Commercial and Property team at Parry Field Lawyers and works predominantly with settled and recent migrant investors and their families.

She has experience developing investment structures and negotiating complex contracts for the benefit of her clients.

Doris is fluent in English and Mandarin and comprehends Cantonese and Foo Chow dialects. She is supported by an experienced team of legal staff, fluent in Japanese, Mandarin and Cantonese.

After completing her Masters in Law Doris worked for a law firm in the North Island before joining Parry Field Lawyers in 2012.

Partnership Chair, Kris Morrison, says her promotion from Senior Associate is well deserved and the success of the migrant team that Doris helped establish is a testament to her drive and leadership.

“Doris has been a linchpin of an increasingly important part of our practice. This appointment recognises her personal strengths and also the broadening diversity and capability of our firm as we head into the future.”


Doris says it’s a privilege to be able to join the partnership.

“My initial motivation for entering the legal profession was informed by a sense of calling and a desire to assist those in need by providing advice in a pragmatic manner”.

17 years on from her admission to the bar, her sense of calling remains clear, and she says the Parry Field culture has helped cultivate her desire to continue to provide excellent service to her clients and community by advising ‘to the heart of what matters’.


Parry Field Lawyers welcomes the appointment of three new partners, as the firm moves to reward the excellence in its growing ranks, through promotion.

Alex Summerlee, Judith Bullin and Joseph Morris (r) move into their partnership roles effective Friday 1 April. Partnership Chair, Kris Morrison, says all three Senior Associates are exceptional lawyers who are experts in their respective fields of law.

We are extremely proud to welcome this group to the partnership. They embody the qualities that our clients expect from Parry Field – superb legal ability, dedication to client service, professionalism, integrity and commitment to community.”

Mr Morrison said the new partners have been an important part of the firm’s success and represent multiple legal specialities.

Services and support

Judith Bullin first joined Parry Field in 2014 and advises on a wide range of commercial and property matters, specialising in subdivisions and developments.

Her focus includes supporting clients with leasing, property purchase, building contracts, asset structuring, conveyancing and due diligence investigations.

“Originally I got into law because I wanted to help people and it’s a real honour and privilege to get to this point.” Judith said.  “I feel a huge sense of responsibility to our clients and our teams and hope, along with the other partners, that I can steward and lead this firm and its people well.” Judith says she’s been grateful to Parry Field for supporting her professional growth as she’s become a parent to two children over the years. “The partners have continued to invest in me despite being on maternity leave several times. As I’ve returned to work and had to juggle being a mother and having a career, they’ve cared for me and my family.”

New partner Joseph Morris manages Parry Field’s Hokitika office, where he assists clients with services in commercial property and conveyancing, farm sales and purchases, succession planning and asset protection. Joseph’s practice also consists of civil litigation, family law and dispute resolution and he is further able to call on the expertise of the wider Parry Field team to ensure West Coast clients have access to legal services which may otherwise not be available in a smaller practice.

He says that teamwork approach is one of the benefits of the firm, not only for clients but also its people. “Parry Field is a values-based firm led with Christian perspectives in mind and I’ve learned so much from the other partners over the years. I can talk with them about different things in life, from being a dad to spiritual things and I have definitely appreciated that.”

Alex Summerlee specialises in civil litigation and dispute resolution with experience resolving complex legal issues for clients both in and outside of the Courts.

He has particular expertise acting in disputes involving insurance, construction, insolvency, commercial leases, trusts and estates as well as family law. Alex has represented clients in arbitrations, a variety of tribunals and at all levels of the Courts of New Zealand.

Alex is active in the community, sitting on the Board of Proprietors of St Mark’s School, and holding office as the Vice Chancellor to the Anglican Bishop of Christchurch.  He says he is excited to be joining the partnership because of all it stands for and represents.  “From my first days at Parry Field, I have been the beneficiary of supervisors, partners, and of colleagues who have been just as interested in my growth as a person, as my development as a lawyer. That’s not a given in a workplace and it’s a real privilege to be a part of this kind of firm.”

“How this firm is carried does not just affect our staff and clients; that in turn also impacts each of our families and each of our communities –as new partners we will now have a part in ensuring that Parry Field continues to deliver excellent legal representation and continues to play its part in our community.”

Parry Field Lawyers is pleased to have assisted tech start-up Komodo on their recent capital raising.

Komodo have successfully raised $1.8 million allowing them to provide much needed wellbeing support to students.

The start-up provides a platform for students to communicate with staff and provides schools with ways to identify and address issues such as mental health and bullying.

We are proud to have supported the company on this journey for several years now right from the beginning. Their company represents an ongoing shift towards companies and investors wanting to create an impact through their work.

The transaction was led by Senior Solicitor Aislinn Molloy and Partner Steven Moe with assistance from many in the Parry Field team as well.

There’s further information in this article: https://techcrunch.com/2021/08/30/new-zealand-based-student-wellbeing-platform-komodo-raises-1-8m-nzd/