2023 Winners


Debt Market Deal of the Year

Financing for Igneo’s acquisition of Waste Management NZ

Zac Kedgley-Foot, Bell Gully; Dominic Toomey, Simpson Grierson

Lead firms: Bell Gully, Simpson Grierson 

All other Organisations that worked on the deal (Firms, Banks and Accountants): ANZ Bank New Zealand, Craigs Investment Partners, MUFG Bank, Hong Kong Branch, Natixis, RBC Capital Markets, Royal Bank of Canada 

Judges’ comments include: A complex deal due to the nature of the syndicate and the breadth; A novel approach identified to convert to green loan.; Large, complex and innovative transaction that allows for ESG improvements over time.”

Excellence Awardees

Auckland Council Sustainability-Linked Loans 

New Zealand sovereign Green Bond Framework and first green bond issuance 

Senior Debt for Tourism Holdings Ltd as part of merger with Apollo Tourism and Leisure 

Syndicated funding for Allegro’s acquisition of fuel retailer Gull NZ 

Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira Inc senior debt facilities to fund the purchase of properties from the Crown 

Equity Market Deal of the Year 

$2.2-billion Recapitalisation of Air New Zealand

Karyn O’Loughlin, DB Breweries; Chris Goddard, Bell Gully; David Raudkivi, Russell McVeagh; Josh Blackmore, Chapman Tripp

Lead firms: Allen & Overy, Bell Gully, Chapman Tripp, Russell McVeagh 

All other Organisations that worked on the deal (Firms, Banks and Accountants): Baker & McKenzie, Calibre Partners, Citibank, Citigroup, Craigs Investment Partners, Deloitte, Forsyth Barr, Goldman Sachs, Herbert Smith Freehills, KPMG, Sidley Austin, UBS, Vorigo Advisory 

Judges’ comments include: “A novel, impressive, complex deal with many facets to manage, undertaken in uncertain market conditions; A worthy winner.; High value, high stakes and public interest – perfectly executed; Significant size and complexity of the transaction at a critical point for the company; This deal meets the judging criteria in all respects.”

Excellence Awardees

Heartland Group Holdings $200 million equity raise 

Ryman Healthcare $902.4 million capital raise 

Project Finance Deal of the Year

Financing of special purpose vehicle to fund infrastructure and urban development projects in Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty

Sarah Anderson-Butler, Bell Gully; Daniel Collins, Buddle Finlay

Lead firms: Bell Gully, Buddle Findlay 

All other Organisations that worked on the deal (Firms, Banks and Accountants): Bank of New Zealand, Chapman Tripp, Crown Infrastructure Partners, Deloitte, KPMG, Mafic Partners, Simpson Grierson, Tauranga City Council, Westpac New Zealand  

Judges’ comments include: “Complexity of navigating the application of existing funding arrangements to a new regime together with the innovation involved make this deal notable.; First transaction under the IFFA, requiring the lawyers to create documentation that will no doubt be used by all others going forward.; Novel legislation and transaction.” 

Excellence Awardees

Financing of Lodestone Energy Solar Project  

M&A Deal of the Year

Crown takes 100% control of Kiwibank with purchase of NZ Super Fund, Accident Compensation Corporation and NZ Post stakes

Josh Blackmore, Chapman Tripp; Ashton Goatley, Webb Henderson; Louise Martin, Auckland International Airport; James Hawes, Simpson Grierson; John Conlan, MinterEllisonRuddWatt

Lead firms: Chapman Tripp, MinterEllisonRuddWatts, Simpson Grierson, Webb Henderson 

All other Organisations that worked on the deal (Firms, Banks and Accountants): Cameron Partners 

Judges’ comments include: “A particularly complex transaction constrained by regulatory requirements demonstrating strong innovation and breadth across multiple regulatory areas.; Innovative response to a transaction that was challenging from a regulatory perspective.” 

Excellence Awardees

Acquisition of Partners Life by Dai-ichi Life 

Acquisition of Z Energy by Ampol  

Futureverse roll-up and Series A capital raise 

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board’s acquisition of 70% stake of Spark NZ’s passive mobile infrastructure business 

Sale of One NZ (formerly Vodafone) Passive Mobile Towers to InfraRed and Northleaf Capital Partners 

Insolvency and Restructuring Deal of the Year

Liquidation of CBL Insurance Limited

Dan Hughes, Anthony Harper; Lynne Van, Anthony Harper

Lead firm: Anthony Harper 

All other Organisations that worked on the deal (Firms, Banks and Accountants): CMQ Law, DLA Piper, Duncan Cotterill, Gilbert Walker, GlaisterEnnor, Harmos Horton Lusk, Hesketh Henry, King’s Counsel, LeeSalmonLong, Lindsay & Francis, McElroys, McGrathNicol, Meredith Connell, Simpson Grierson 

Judges’ comments include: “Complex and high value case; First choice for many reasons, including the complexity added due to multi party proceedings involving criminal, regulatory and civil issues as well as innovative use of TAR.; Multi-jurisdictional, multi-party and numerous legal representatives – a complex transaction and settlement, worthy of this award.” 

Excellence Awardees

Financial Restructuring and recapitalisation of Kurow Duntroon Irrigation Co. 

Receivership of Optic Security Group Limited and Related Sale of Subsidiary 

Mid-Market Deal of the Year

Sale of Trustpower retail business to Mercury Energy

Vicky Lee, Fortysouth; Tim Tubman, Chapman Tripp; Troy Pilkington, Russell McVeagh

Lead firms: Chapman Tripp, Russell McVeagh  

All other Organisations that worked on the deal (Firms, Banks and Accountants): Deloitte, Forsyth Barr, PwC  

Judges’ comments include: “A complex and technically difficult transaction in a highly regulated industry at the top end of the size for this category.; A transaction that had it all for the legal advisers to manage and negotiate their way through; The complexity and breadth of this transaction make it stand out, including restructures, High Court and NZCC approval and the different sectors involved.” 

Excellence Awardees

Acquisition of Eastland Network by Igneo Infrastructure Partners 

Acquisition of the Better Health Company by Nestlé New Zealand  

AMP Sale of Collimate Capital 

Fisher Funds purchase of Kiwi Wealth  

Next Capital sale of New Zealand’s largest urban bus operator to Kinetic NZ Holdings 


Young In-House Lawyer of the Year (35 or under)

Claude Smith, Meridian Energy

Judges’ comments include: “A standout candidate with a very impressive list of achievements.; Proven to be a truly exceptional lawyer with a strong work ethic.; Shows all the key attributes of a great leader, including resilience, diligence, and empathy.” 

Excellence Awardees

Amir Ansari, Tourism Holdings

Lisa Cameron, Meta

Charlotte Foster, Warner Bros. Discovery

Angus Haines, DB Breweries

Nerida Kennedy, Datacom

Penny Kitto, Metlifecare

Marcus Playle, Lion

James & Wells In-House Lawyer of the Year

Jason Nichols, Fonterra Co-operative Group

Judges’ comments include: “An impressive array of challenges and achievements over the relevant year; The quality of Jason’s innovative work and leadership skills are impressive; Highly complex, big dollar deal work.” 

Excellence Awardees

Melissa Anastasiou, Spark New Zealand

Penny Bower, Waste Management NZ

Paris Bree, New Zealand Oil & Gas

Kirsten Clayton, Contact Energy

Justine Hollows, Winton

Juliet Jones, One New Zealand (formerly Vodafone)

Jack Lynskey, Wealthpoint

Beth McKay, Crown Infrastructure Partners


Sponsored by

Financial Services In-House Team of the Year

IAG Legal Team

Rebecca Faull, IAG Legal Team

Judges’ comments include: “The team has clearly delivered a lot of important strategic and innovative work; A team who are ‘on their game’ and across all aspects of the business delivering in a challenging environment 

Excellence Awardees


MAS – Medical Assurance Society 

Partners Life Legal team 

Perpetual Guardian – Legal 

Energy In-House Team of the Year

Meridian Energy

Tim Austen, Meridian Energy; Paris Bree, New Zealand Oil & Gas

Judges’ comments include: “A good submission showing the achievements over the judging period.; Strong focus of the team and organisation 

Excellence Awardees

Genesis Legal Team 

Lodestone Energy

Telecommunications In-House Team of the Year


Louise Henderson, 2degrees

Judges’ comments include: “Huge achievements to be proud of; The transactions and how the legal team dealt with them demonstrate the legal team’s ability to handle matters of high significance, complexity, and innovation 

Excellence Awardees

One New Zealand  

Spark New Zealand 

Tuatahi First Fibre Legal & Regulatory Team 

Russell McVeagh In-House Team of the Year


Gus Stewart, 2degrees; Louise Henderson, 2degree; David Butler, Russell McVeagh

Judges’ comments include: “Huge achievements to be proud of; The transactions and how the legal team dealt with them demonstrate the legal team’s ability to handle matters of high significance, complexity, and innovation 

Excellence Awardees

Air New Zealand  

Crown Infrastructure Partners  

Fonterra Legal Team 

IAG Legal Team  

Meridian Energy  

SkyCity Entertainment Group  

Waikato-Tainui In-House Legal Team 

Waste Management New Zealand  


Sponsored by


Young Private Practice Lawyer of the Year (35 Or Under)

Bradley Aburn, Russell McVeagh

Judges’ comments include: “An outstanding submission- a demonstrated commitment to the law and the institutions that surround it. Surely a long and illustrious career lies ahead.; Great to see a lawyer contributing in so many ways to the legal profession and the public. Relevant achievements well articulated; Strong external recognition.” 

Excellence Awardees

Shane Campbell, Wynn Williams

Zac Fargher, Simpson Grierson

Tayla Johnston, MinterEllisonRuddWatts

Zac Kedgley-Foot, Bell Gully

Jade Magrath, Rice Speir

Rosa McPhee, Chapman Tripp

Samuel Moore, Wolfe Street Chambers

Jacob Nutt, DLA Piper New Zealand

Elizabeth Ogle, Webb Henderson

Employment Law Specialist Firm of the Year

Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law

Jordan Boyle, Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law

Judges’ comments include: “A well rounded submission showcasing internal and external achievements while also demonstrating the breadth of the expertise of the firm.” 

Excellence Awardees

Black Door Law  

Copeland Ashcroft Law 

McBride Davenport James 

Richard Upton  

Watermark Employment Law 

Litigation & Dispute Resolution Specialist Law Firm of the Year

Gilbert Walker and Wilson Harle

Guy Tompkins, Wilson Harle; Iva Rosic, Gilbert Walker

Judges’ comments for Gilbert Walker include: “An impressive list of work, with high calibre and complex client types.; Excellent testimonials and awards received. Clearly known for its dispute resolution practice; Submission is well thought out and covers the achievements of the firm well throughout the judging period.”

Judges’ comments for Wilson Harle include: “Impressive range of work and expertise demonstrated.; Professional and compelling; Submission demonstrates the breadth of practice expertise across the firm; Very impressed with this firm’s progress – as a relatively new law firm which has quickly become a force to be reckoned with.”

Intellectual Property Specialist Law Firm of the Year

AJ Park

Duncan Schaut, AJ Park; Natalie Harre, AJ Park

Judges’ comments include: “A very strong and compelling submission.; Very impressive work- especially the number of applications filed.; The firm delivers responsive client service and high-quality, actionable advice.” 

Excellence Awardees

Henry Hughes IP 

James & Wells 

Zone Law 

Property & Construction Specialist Law Firm of the Year


Joe Biddles, TBB; Elena Kim, PwC Legal

Judges’ comments include: “A demonstrated market leader in the commercial property field with a team comprising respective and high calibre lawyers serving clients in major projects.; Submission showcases not only deals done by the firm but also identifies key awards received by employees and celebrates their contributions.” 

Excellence Awardees


Convey Law 

Domain Legal  

Kate Sheehan Lawyers 

Insurance Specialist Law Firm of the Year

Wotton + Kearney Lawyers

Pheobe Nikolaou, Wotton + Kearney Lawyers

Judges’ comments include: “Clear evidence of expertise, thought leadership and innovation; Well articulated internal and external achievements.; Impressive track record of representing high profile clients in complex and high-value litigation. Calibre lawyers.” 

Excellence Awardees

Darroch Forrest Lawyers 

Gilbert Walker 

LexisNexis Boutique Law Firm of the Year

Webb Henderson

Henry Willis, Webb Henderson; Abhi Patni, LexisNexis

Judges’ comments include: “Strong client highlights; The list of clients and work is impressive; Deep expertise in corporate, M&A and finance transactions and a rapidly growing competition law practice, involved highly complex transactions; Very impressed with the depth and breath of work this firm undertakes.” 

Excellence Awardees

BlackmanSpargo Rural Law  

Dixon & Co Lawyers 

Flacks & Wong 

Juno Legal  


Sponsored by

Fluid Legal Recruitment Employer of Choice (<100 Lawyers)

Lane Neave and Wynn Williams

Andrew Shaw, Lane Neave; Alex Stones, Fluid Legal Recruitment; Mike Doesburg, Wynn Williams

Judges’ comments for Lane Neave include: “impressive array of programmes and investment in their people; Great submission putting people transformation at the heart of the business.

Judges’ comments for Wynn Williams include: “All rounded approach to supporting employees; impressive range of initiatives; People clearly are very important in everything they do.

Excellence Awardees

AJ Park 

Juno Legal  

McCaw Lewis 

Norling Law  

Norris Ward McKinnon 

PwC Legal 

SHIFT Advisory  


Sponsored by

Employer of Choice (>100 Lawyers)

Simpson Grierson

Mia Anderson, Fluid Legal Recruitment; Jo Stevenson, Simpson Grierson

Judges’ comments include: “A comprehensive and wide range of programs; Impressive D&I policy, pro bono programme and authentic treatment of pro bono hours; Really solid and building on their impressive foundation with initiatives that evolve with the times; All relevant criteria addressed cohesively.” 

Excellence Awardees

Anderson Lloyd 

Anthony Harper 

Bell Gully  

Chapman Tripp 



Russell McVeagh 

Tompkins Wake 

LEAP Legal Software Mid-Size Law Firm of the Year

Mayne Wetherell

Judges‘ comments include: “A top tiered mid-sized firm with an impressive list of clients and projects. Traditionally regarded as a Banking and Finance boutique firm, the depth of expertise that the firm now has will give big sized law firms the run for their money.; Very impressed with this firm and its achievements 

Excellence Awardees

Cooney Lees Morgan 

Harmos Horton Lusk 

K3 Legal 

McCaw Lewis 


Sponsored by

Large Law Firm of the Year

Russell McVeagh

Apryl Burgess, Robert Walters; Allison Arthur-Young, Russell McVeagh

Judges’ comments include: “Expertise across a range of practices and an impressive list of projects.; The D&I strategy refresh deserves special recognition; A serious investment in people and culture.; The firm continues to execute quality work.” 

Excellence Awardees

Anthony Harper 

Bell Gully  

Buddle Findlay  

Chapman Tripp 


DLA Piper New Zealand 


Simpson Grierson 

Tompkins Wake 


Sponsored by

Robert Walters

Resolution Institute Mediator of the Year

Wi Pere Mita, Laidlaw Law and Consultancy

Judges’ comments include: “Large quantum of high-quality work, including pro-bono, across many areas, provision of scholarships and training means great knowledge sharing and upskilling for future professionals.; CSR initiatives deserve special praise.; Standout community contribution; Very impressive submission.” 

Excellence Awardees

Simon Roughton, Orb Solutions

Sue Smith, Te Kāhui Tika Tangata | Human Rights Commission 


Sponsored by
Resolution Institute

Law Firm Leader of the Year (≤100 Lawyers)

Tim Walden, James & Wells

Judges’ comments include: “Admirable bandwidth and results achieved for and with the firm; Impressive overall approach to leading.; Well rounded with achievements well articulated across the judging period.” 

Excellence Awardees

Glenn Forster, McCaw Lewis

Sam Hood, Norris Ward McKinnon

Matthew Jones, Wynn Williams

Helen Mackay, Juno Legal

Sally Morris, Morris

Edwin Morrison, K3 Legal

Brent James Norling, Norling Law

Law Firm Leader of the Year (>100 Lawyers)

Allison Arthur-Young, Russell McVeagh

Abhi Patni, LexisNexis; Allison Arthur-Young, Russell McVeagh

Judges’ comments include: “A great range of impressive leadership activities.; Vision and energy to take the firm forward from difficult times; The accolades and testimonials as well as the awards that Alison has received is a testament of her leadership qualities and skills.; Compassionate leader with a number of important focuses during the judging period 

Excellence Awardees

Jon Calder, Tompkins Wake

Jennifer Caldwell, Buddle Findlay

Malcolm Hurley, Anthony Harper

Kerry O’Donnell, Anderson Lloyd

Laura Scampion, DLA Piper New Zealand

Hayden Wilson, Dentons


Diversity & Inclusion Initiative of the Year

Laidlaw Law and Consultancy

Judges’ comments include: “A long list of achievements aimed at access to justice during the judging period.; Hugely impressed with this firms investment in D+I; Strong impact in helping other organisations to build on tikanga practices” 

Excellence Awardees

Anderson Lloyd 

Buddle Findlay  


DLA Piper New Zealand 


Russell McVeagh 

Simpson Grierson