People

Les Allen
Director
Michael Bright
Director
Michael Hockly
Director
Kimberly Knox
Director
Shelley Eden
Shelley Eden
Director
Rachael Jhinkus - LinkedIn
Rachael Jhinku
Director
Amy Cheng
Associate
Robert Barness - LinkedIn
Robert Barnes
Consultant
Julia Leung
Senior Associate
Sarah Hughes
Practice Manager
Rebecca Kroeze
Senior Associate
Emma Boad
Senior Solicitor
ruth sq
Ruth Katsui
Solicitor
Timothy Naik - LinkedIn
Timothy Naik
Solicitor
Holly Cullen - LinkedIn
Holly Cullen
Solicitor
Tiffany Pellow - LinkedIn - Copy
Tiffany Pellow
Solicitor
Isabel Barnes - LinkedIn
Isabel Barnes
Solicitor
Melani Collie - LinkedIn
Melanie Collie
Solicitor
Daniel Josephs - LinkedIn
Daniel Josephs
Legal Clerk
Sophia Burton
Sophia Burton
Legal Executive
Sarah Wells
Estates Administrator
Tina Luff
Senior Legal Executive
Margaret McKinnon
Senior Legal Executive
Monique Clinton
Monique Clinton
Legal Executive
Sharon Weatherley - LinkedIn
Sharon Weatherley
Legal Executive

Les Allen

Director

  • Bachelor of Commerce – University of Auckland
  • Bachelor of Laws – University of Auckland
  • Master of Taxation Studies – University of Auckland
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand
  • Notary Public

Les Allen has a clear vision that comes with over 40 years’ practice in commercial law. He has amassed a wealth of expertise in commercial law, property and family trusts. Holding a Master of Taxation Studies, Les regularly acts for clients on tax matters including disputes with the IRD.

He is legal advisor for a number of SMEs assisting with all their legal needs and commonly acts for clients buying or selling businesses in the $100,000 to $30 million range.

Les is passionate about gaining the best possible outcomes for clients. He is also sought after by not for profit organisations for advice on issues unique to the sector. Les is a Notary Public as well as a senior member of the New Zealand Trustees Association.

A proud father of five children (and with five grandchildren), he is a keen tennis fan.

“My goal is to effectively represent your interests whether that’s a business sale or purchase, corporate restructure, advice on a family trust or non-profit body, or a dispute with IRD. And that means giving you the best possible advice for your situation.”

Michael Bright

Director

  • Bachelor of Laws, University of Canterbury (LEADR prize in dispute resolution)
  • Bachelor of Commerce, University of Canterbury
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Michael Bright is a commercial and franchise lawyer. He is also trustee of a number of private trusts and estates and is responsible for all the legal needs of a number of key clients, overseeing a team of lawyers providing services to individuals and families. In that regard, Michael’s role is to understand each person’s situation and objectives, then help them identify and consider options, before ensuring that the agreed upon actions are implemented by the right people – either within Gaze Burt’s team, or working alongside.

For both businesses and individuals, Michael likes to take a bigger picture approach with a clear sense of what’s important. It’s an approach clients have come to appreciate for its immediate as well as long term benefits.

Michael is most well known for his expertise in commercial law, particularly in the context of franchising. He handles everything a franchisor will encounter, from franchise system conceptualisation and start-up to divestment, as well as advising franchisees on difficult issues and handling disputes. he is a pragmatic and creative lawyer, privileged to act for many prominent and high-value franchise brands. he also presents fairly regularly on topics relevant to franchisors, and is solicitor to the Franchise Association of New Zealand.

Michael particularly enjoys building relationships with people and helping them plan for a better future. He will then pull together the right people to ensure all of your legal needs are met – whether business or personal.

” For me it’s about getting to the heart of the matter – understanding what you want to achieve, and giving you the best means to go about it.”

Michael Hockly

Director

  • Bachelor of Laws – University of Auckland
  • Notary Public
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Michael Hockly provides expert counsel in the areas of asset and wealth structuring, estate planning and property management, leading a specialist and highly skilled team.

Michael has more than 30 years’ experience in the practice of law, and leads a team with specialist expertise in wealth and asset structuring, property law, trust law, estate planning, estate administration and trusteeship. The team’s property practice encompasses residential, rural and commercial property. And in close conjunction with the firm’s commercial team, he is regularly called on to provide advice for small to medium sized business owners and entrepreneurs.

Michael is a clear communicator with a wealth of practical and personal expertise in entrepreneurship and business. He is passionate about giving clients his full attention to truly understand what matters to them most at every stage of planning, and he is a very effective and proactive guide for the future. A well-respected authority in this area, Michael is a senior member of the New Zealand Trustees Association, a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Trust Special Interest Group, a board member of Tandem and a Notary Public.

“We’re Kiwis, problem solvers; there’s always a solution. The first question is always about what you want to achieve. By truly understanding that, we can put in place the right solutions for you. ”

“There’s no template but there is a process. What I bring to the table is plenty of experience. I genuinely like and care about my clients, and their outcomes. It’s what drives me in practice.”

Robert Barnes

Consultant

  • Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts – University of Auckland
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Robert has been a solicitor for nearly 50 years. He established a thriving sole practice in Birkenhead 40 years ago, and since then has formed lasting relationships with many generations of North Shore families, forming wide networks and building a loyal clientele.

Out of the office, he is a classical pianist and baritone, performing with the Auckland Welsh Choir, and has been a keen runner all his life. He has four children, five grandchildren and devotes much of his spare time to two Siamese cats.

Shelley Eden

Director

  • Bachelor of Laws – University of Auckland
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Shelley Eden leads our employment team. While she has over 20 years in employment law practice her career also includes time working in-house, and in senior management, and as a lecturer in employment law, human resource management and general management. She has a particular interest in leadership, and how organisations are led to achieve. Shelley’s practice encompasses both the litigious and non-litigious aspects of employment law, including personal grievance work and with regular appearances at mediation and the Employment Relations Authority. She has also appeared in the Employment Court and the Court of Appeal. Shelley’s background includes commercial litigation and so she brings this rigour to her work. On the non-litigious side, Shelley advises clients in all aspects of employment law, such as disciplinary processes and procedures, agreement drafting, Holidays Act, Health and Safety, Privacy and so on.

Shelley likes to work with employers to put policies and processes in place to prevent problems in the workplace. With her experience in lecturing, Shelley is a strong presenter, and uses these skills regularly with clients, presenting on HR and employment law topics. She also presents webinars and seminars for external providers. She enjoys the opportunity this gives to educate clients on issues relates to their key resource: their people.

Shelley enjoys assisting businesses to meet their obligations as employers and to have an engaged, productive workforce. She sees her role as part of the team dedicated to ensuring this and often works closely with the HR team in client businesses. And as part of this, she has developed a practice in employment investigations, helping employers understand what is happening in their workplaces and assisting them with the management of employment issues.

Shelley builds relationships with her clients, often over many years. She enjoys understanding her clients’ businesses and what makes them special, and forming strong relationships with the people who run them. She believes that in knowing how clients operate, and what is important to them, she can provide them with better advice and be a stronger part of the team.

“Being a lawyer is a privilege. For business clients, you get to learn all about them and what makes them tick. Acting for individuals, you stand with them in a painful and distressing time of their working life. But you help to resolve these issues, and nothing gives me greater satisfaction.”

Monique Clinton

Legal Executive

Monique spent 15 years working in the legal and finance industry, specialising in mortgage processing before coming to Gaze Burt.  Monique completed her Legal Executive Diploma in 2014 and now assists Tina Luff with property conveyancing matters.

“I love helping people to make the conveyancing process as enjoyable, seamless, and efficient as possible.”

Ruth Katsui

Solicitor

  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Bachelor of Arts conjoint – University of Auckland
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Ruth Katsui joined Gaze Burt in April 2021 as a solicitor on the employment team. Ruth comes from a litigation and immigration background, having previously worked for a boutique multi-lingual firm.

Ruth is bilingual in Japanese, and has spent more than three years in Japan. Her language skills allowed her to build a breadth of legal knowledge through advising Japanese-speaking clients on a range of legal matters.

After two years living in Japan through the Covid-19 pandemic, Ruth is excited to be back in New Zealand and specialising in employment matters, an area she has always been passionate about.

In her spare time Ruth enjoys classical singing and café hopping.

“What I love about employment law is how it affects real people in their day-to-day work lives. Our advice to clients on their legal rights and responsibilities contributes to creating healthy and positive workplaces for everyone involved.”

Sarah Hughes

Practice Manager

Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science – Auckland University of Technology

Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (HRM) – Massey University

Sarah is Gaze Burt’s practice manager and oversees the HR, marketing, and administrative functions of the firm, as well as managing administration relating to the directors. Sarah has over ten years’ experience in management roles across various industries. Initially qualifying as a medical laboratory scientist, she transitioned to HR and professional services management as her career developed from the role of a hands-on scientist to that of a department leader at New Zealand’s largest medical laboratory.

Outside of work, Sarah is busy with two young children. She is active in children’s ministry at her church, and her in local community as a Parenting Place toolbox facilitator. She has recently returned to study, this time to learn Te Reo Maori.

Rachael Jhinku

Director

  • Bachelor of Laws, University of Waikato(Hons)
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Rachael is based at our Albany office and provides assistance in the area of asset planning, trusts and property matters.

Rachael is experienced in reviewing and advising on trust deeds particularly for compliance with the Trusts Act 2019, varying existing trusts, and putting new trust structures in place. She can also assist with property sharing agreements, gifts and loans, enduring powers of attorney and Wills. Rachael is also experienced in advising on retirement village agreements and the residential care subsidy. Rachael enjoys helping clients with their legal needs in a professional and friendly manner.

She was admitted to the bar in 1994 and spent the first 5 years of her legal career working for Gaze Burt. Her first mentor and supervisor was David Burt at Gaze Burt’s Mt Eden branch office in Grange Road. Rachael later moved to Gaze Burt’s City office, firstly in the Reserve Bank building and then to the One Nelson Street premises. After working at a number of other legal firms and taking time out of her career to raise her children, Rachael re-joined Gaze Burt in 2018.

Rachael serves on the trust board of her local church and is involved in the children’s ministry. Away from work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teenage boys, and on the weekend will often be found walking her golden retriever at the beach or park.

“I enjoy helping my clients find peace of mind by putting robust and reliable asset planning structures in place for them.  It is my job to listen to my client’s problems and concerns, and then to offer them practical and wise solutions. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the smile on the face of a client who has just had a weight lifted off their shoulders”.

Kimberly Knox

Kimberly Knox

Director

  • Bachelor of Laws – University of Auckland
  • Bachelor of Commerce – University of Auckland
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

One of our directors, Kimberly Knox is based at our North Shore office at Gaze Burt and provides assistance on a broad range of commercial, trust and property matters.

Kimberly has over ten years’ experience in commercial and property roles since being admitted to the New Zealand Bar in Auckland in 2006. She provides a wide range of advice and assistance on legal matters including commercial and property acquisitions and transactions, leasing, contracting, financing, subdivisions and development. She also provides estate planning and trust advice.

Kimberly has been a contributor for the New Zealand Law Journal and a seminar presenter for the Auckland District Law Society. Kimberly is a member of the Women in Property branch of Property Council New Zealand and the Auckland District Law Society.

Kimberly is a guide leader for the Kaipatiki division of Girl Guiding New Zealand. Kimberly enjoys spending time with her family and is a freestyle jetskier and recreational runner.

“The legal profession provides me with opportunities to assist people in implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. I enjoy being able to provide a legal service that has a focus on clients and their requirements.”

“It is my goal to build strong and rewarding relationships with clients and to deliver a service to you where you feel you are made a priority and that you are receiving practical and experienced advice.”

Rebecca Kroeze

Senior Associate

  • Bachelor of Laws- University of Auckland
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Rebecca Kroeze (nee Rebecca Roukema) is responsible for Gaze Burt’s family law practice. Rebecca has been specialising in family law for the past eight years and has a wealth of experience when it comes to relationship property distribution and disputes; contracting out agreement negotiations, and care and contact matters. In addition, Rebecca is able to assist clients with regard to domestic violence issues and the obtaining of protection orders; adoption; guardianship; child relocation; child support appeals; preventing removal from New Zealand; Home for Life applications; and applications to be appointed a property manager or welfare guardian.

Having lived through a separation with children involved, Rebecca tryuly understands that this is a difficult and emotional time for her clients, and seeks to provide a service that is understanding, informative, and as positive an experience as possible.

Rebecca is actively involved with an emerging dispute resolution process called Collaborative Advocacy. Collaborative Advocacy is a passion of Rebecca’s, and she has achieved some extremely positive outcomes for clients that have committed to the process.

Rebecca is a member of the Family Law Section and volunteers at the Windsor Park Legal Clinic, providing advice to people who might not always have the resources to obtain the legal advice they need.

When Rebecca isn’t a busy mum to her four children, she also enjoys cake decorating and baking, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

“I appreciate that my clients are going through an emotionally charged time, probably the worst they have experienced, and what they need is reassurance, a listening ear and sound legal advice and direction. This can make such a difference and give a client a sense of confidence.”

“ My relationship with my clients is something that is important to me and I take great pride in it. I want my clients to feel at the completion of a matter that they have received top quality service, legal advice and representation.”

Daniel Josephs

Legal Clerk

Bachelors of Laws and Bachelor of Arts – University of Auckland

Daniel joined Gaze Burt in January 2021 as a law clerk in the employment law team after completing a conjoint Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Auckland. He will be admitted in mid-2021. Daniel is passionate about employment law because it is a politically dynamic and people-focused area of law. He is excited about assisting employers and employees to navigate professional and personal relationships and to find practical solutions to problems in the workplace. Outside of work, Daniel enjoys running and skiing – both on the snow and on the water.

Emma Boad

Senior Solicitor

  • Bachelor of Laws – University of Hertfordshire, U.K.
  • Solicitor of England and Wales
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Emma is a member of the residential property team and brings with her over 10 years of experience in the legal profession.

Emma was admitted to the Role of Solicitors of England and Wales in 2007 and practised in the residential property and family law teams.

After moving to New Zealand Emma was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 2010. She was the instructing solicitor in a large amount of solicitor negligence claims that arose from the Blue Chip collapse, obtaining positive results.

Emma is very happy to have returned to her roots and her passion for property law.

Emma is a married mother of two children and has a love of home cooking. When she is not home with the children Emma can be found volunteering at the local Girl Guide unit where she is a Guide Leader in Training. She enjoys camping with the Guiding Association as well as her family.

“Buying and selling property, whether for the family home or as an investment can be a very emotional and busy time. It is my goal to make the legal process as stress free as possible so that the client can focus on the finer details. The only way to do that is by spending time getting to know my clients so that I can understand their needs.”

Holly Cullen

Solicitor

  • Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Commerce – Victoria University
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Holly has always had a keen interest in law and the challenges that come with it. After moving out of her hometown of Whangarei, she studied at Victoria University of Wellington, graduating in 2018 with a LLB and BCom majoring in marketing.

After graduating, she enjoyed a quick few months overseas (with excellent timing prior to COVID!) and has been working in the area of trusts and estate planning and administration ever since. In November 2019, she was admitted to the bar and after starting her career at Public Trust, is now settled in her solicitor role with Gaze Burt. Holly holds a general practice role, focusing on trusts, estate planning and some commercial matters.

“I  enjoy meeting with clients to discuss their situations and proposed commercial decisions. Delving into the details, it is always a great challenge to help devise different ways to structure assets that are both practical and provide benefit and protection – especially when there are complex family dynamics and intricate commercial transactions to consider.”

Melanie Collie

Solicitor

Sarah Wells

Estates Administrator

  • Bachelor of Arts

Sarah assists with the administration of our busy estates practice. Having worked in the legal profession for over 20 years, Sarah is happy to discuss any queries you have in relation to your estate administration.

Tina Luff

Senior Legal Executive

  • Legal Executive Certificate
  • Diploma in Legal Executive Studies (Waikato University)
  • Diploma in Conveyancing

Tina looks after a wide range of legal matters including wills, trusts and property. Tina returned to work for us in August 2012 after spending the past 5 years working for law firms in Sydney.

Margaret McKinnon

Senior Legal Executive

  • Certificate of Attainment in Legal Executive Studies
  • Diploma in Legal Executive Studies

Margaret has worked at Gaze Burt for a number of years in property and estate administration.

Margaret works closely with the Gaze Burt directors and solicitors. As a team they can guide you through what can sometimes be a difficult process in dealing with estate assets and administration, including challenges by beneficiaries which can sometimes arise.

Tiffany Pellow

Solicitor

  • BBus (Finance Major) and LLB (Hons) – Auckland University of Technology
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Tiffany was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court in October 2020 and joined Gaze Burt in December 2020. She initially worked with the trusts team, reviewing trusts for compliance with the Trusts Act 2019. Tiffany has since shifted her attention to property matters, which will be her focus indefinitely.

Prior to embarking on her career as a lawyer, Tiffany pursued classical ballet to a very competitive level. She still loves to perform when the opportunity presents itself, and maintaining strength and fitness by attending the gym. Tiffany is also a keen gamer who enjoys playing World of Warcraft and has many years’ experience as a guild leader in a Star Wars game. Tiffany also loves to travel. Her most recent destinations include London, New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.

Tiffany is thrilled to be part of the team at Gaze Burt and hopes to have a longstanding career with the firm, building relationships with clients along the way.

Isabel Barnes

Solicitor

  • BA/LLB (Auckland) MA (London)
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Isabel is a general practice solicitor in our Birkenhead office.

She was admitted to the bar in 2006, after which she worked in a boutique Auckland law firm on commercial matters before moving to London to pursue further study and act as a legal advisor in public policy and regulatory roles for 12 years. She moved back to NZ with her young family in late 2019, and since then has been in general practice with her father, Robert Barnes, in Birkenhead.

Isabel thrives on the variety and immediacy of general practice and finds great reward in helping local people and their families through some of life’s big transitions.

Amy Cheng

Associate

  • Bachelor of Commerce – University of Otago
  • Bachelor of Tourism – University of Otago
  • Bachelor of Laws – University of Otago
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Amy joined the property/commercial team at our CBD office Gaze Burt in October 2016. Originally qualifying with a BCom and BTour, Amy was drawn to the legal profession through the influence of friends studying law. She found their stories of various cases and lecture topics fascinating, and this (combined with a healthy interest in various legal drama series on TV) led to her completing further study and gaining her LLB from Otago in 2012.

Amy enjoys her practice areas of property and commercial law, and the variety of work that comes with this. She loves the challenges involved, always learning new things, and the sense of achievement in being able to help clients.

When not working, Amy likes Zumba, yoga, catching up with friends for coffee and shopping, watching movies and drama series, and going out for dinner – trying out different restaurants and eateries.

Amy was admitted to the Bar in June 2013, holds degrees in tourism, commerce, and law, and belongs to the Auckland District Law Society.

Sophia Burton

Legal Executive

Sophia Burton acts as a junior legal executive in the property team at our North Shore office.

Sophia joined us after taking a year out of her career to do missions work in Japan. Before her travel, she spent three years working part time at a smaller law firm while she was undertaking her legal executive qualification.

Sophia thoroughly enjoyed her studies and came top in the country for two of her papers.

Sophia has had experience in a variety of legal practice areas, but property remains her favourite. She enjoys the process driven nature of the work, and having a set list a tasks to work through efficiently.

Outside of work, Sophia is heavily involved in her local theatre – she is the secretary on the committee, is often performing in musicals, and has even written several children’s plays for performances. Sophia is a keen writer and has just finished a first draft of a young adult adventure novel. Sophia is also involved in church on the worship music team and in children’s Sunday School.

“I’m happy with the idea of continuing in property as a legal executive, and I’m looking forward to improving and being able to help people more in this area. I’m enjoying working at Gaze Burt and am looking forward to building my career here.”

Julia Leung

Senior Associate

    • Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)/Law, University of Auckland
    • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Julia practises in the areas of commercial, property (both commercial and residential), trusts and finance law.  She has developed expertise acting for clients in relation to complex commercial and business transactions.  She advises both lenders and borrowers on financing transactions with particular expertise in mortgagee’s remedies and issues arising out of security and other financial arrangements, including under the Property Law Act 2007.

Julia’s extensive experience covers property related transactions, including commercial leasing, complex title issues including rectification of defective titles, subdivisions, body corporate matters, dealing with unauthorised building works issues and general conveyancing.

Julia speaks Cantonese and Mandarin and can read and write Chinese.  She acts for a diverse multicultural client base.  Julia endeavours to provide her clients with objective legal advice and always considers her clients’ best interests and commercial needs when acting on their behalf.

Julia was led to the law by her appreciation of people and desire to share in their lives, face their challenges alongside them, and assist with solving their problems.  She appreciates the exposure to various perspectives and industries her practice gives her that she might not otherwise have.

When not working hard to assist her clients, Julia loves travelling, musicals, opera, and movies. She does not play any sports regularly, but welcomes the opportunity to participate as an occasional team member.

“I am determined to continue building strong relationships with clients by providing them with objective legal advice that will serve their best interests and commercial and personal needs. To me, being a lawyer is not just a profession and a career, but also a way to meet and help people, and an avenue to share in others’ lives.”

Timothy Naik

Solicitor

Bachelor of Laws (LL. B Hons) – University of West England Bristol
Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Tim Naik joins the Gaze Burt commercial team as a solicitor in January 2021 after being involved in the legal field through a variety of roles upon coming to New Zealand over a period of 5 years (and an additional 2 years of practice in Malaysia). Having had the opportunity to hold a managerial position in his previous role, Tim decided that being a lawyer was his ultimate aim and took steps to pursue that. Tim brings with him the experience he has had on the receiving end of the legal relationship and aims to bring a commercial approach to his dealings. Tim has a particular interest in understanding how businesses tick and what can be done to enhance that or avoid pitfalls.

Outside of work, Tim enjoys spending time with his young family. He also enjoys playing the bass guitar and loves a good game of badminton.

Sharon Weatherley

Legal Executive

Sharon is based at our Birkenhead office and has over twenty years of legal experience.  Sharon has worked alongside Robert Barnes since 2007 and provides a wide range of support and assistance on legal matters including property sale and purchases, refinances, estates, wills, powers of attorney, commercial leasing, and other general practice areas.

Qualifications

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Expertise

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Interests

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Motivations

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