Firms To Watch: Data protection

Dentons Kensington Swan combines the skill sets of specialist commercial, technology and privacy lawyers, with the support and experience of the firms’ wider regulatory, IP and disputes practices. Sought after for privacy implications in software development, eCommerce, banking payments, fintech and cloud technology.
Well-established technology, media and IP boutique, Hudson Gavin Martin is in-demand for its data protection and privacy expertise in the developing fintech, data and platform business models.

Data protection in New Zealand

Buddle Findlay

Buddle Findlay combines specialists from its technology, employment, healthcare, payments and commercial practices in a well-resourced, multi-disciplinary group that is regularly instructed by international clients and law firms on New Zealand privacy laws. Allan Yeoman, based in Auckland, supports local businesses on  compliance programmes in relation to the Privacy Act 2020, which created new requirements in the areas of international data transfers and mandatory privacy breach notification. Amy Ryburn is they key figure in Wellington; she advised a New Zealand registered bank on its response to a high-profile hack. Newly promoted partner Renee Stiles and senior associate Alexandra Chapman are also of note.

Practice head(s):

Allan Yeoman


‘The firm is willing to go above and beyond to support client needs.’

Key clients

Auckland Council

Vodafone New Zealand


New Zealand Post

Ministry of Health


Callaghan Innovation

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Work highlights

  • Provided ongoing advice to various public and private sector clients on the interrelated privacy, employment, health and safety and human rights issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Advised New Zealand Post in relation to its procurement of new parcel sortation equipment and related software, including optical character recognition software.
  • Advised Tend Health in relation to the privacy and data protection issues relating to the launch of its online health care provider platform.

Russell McVeagh

Russell McVeagh‘s ‘unparalleled‘ practice is co-led by Joe Edwards and Liz Blythe (based in Auckland), and is enhanced by its Wellington team comprising Mei Fern Johnson, Chris Curran and Mark Campbell, who apply their data protection expertise across the telecoms, media, IP and litigation spheres. Nationally recognised litigator Edwards is representing Television New Zealand on its appeal to the High Court following a finding that it had breached an interviewee’s privacy during a news item. This case will set precedent for all domestic broadcasters, including how they engage in jigsaw identification and protecting the identity of sources and interviewees.

Practice head(s):

Joe Edwards; Liz Blythe


‘Their strength really lies in the ability to provide quick, pragmatic advice in challenging data protection breach situations. The team is highly responsive and is always available at short notice.’

‘Russell McVeagh are unparalleled in providing the right style of advice for the right situation. Whether we need a full opinion, a quick call or to collaborate directly with our business, every piece of advice is high-quality and tailored to what we need.’

‘Joe Edwards understands our business (and our internal and external challenges) better than any other external legal advisor. This insight, combined with excellent technical ability and a comprehensive understanding of international and domestic market trends, means he is the first person we call for our novel privacy issues and cutting-edge data initiatives.’

‘Joe Edwards is our go to for data protection advice. He provides particularly valuable advice around our mandatory breach obligations. It’s an evolving area with a lot of judgment calls around what breaches are notifiable and Joe has been great in providing practical advice, often in very short timeframes. He also keeps us up to date with industry practice relating to new requirements under the Privacy Act (overseas data transfer etc) which is very helpful.’

Key clients

Lion – Beer, Spirits and Wine (NZ) Limited



Spark New Zealand Trading Limited


Television New Zealand Limited

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited

Auckland International Airport Limited

New Zealand Police

Work highlights

  • Acting for New Zealand’s largest property and tenancy company,, in relation to an Office of the Privacy Commissioner inquiry.

DLA Piper New Zealand

Nick Valentine heads the growing data protection practice at DLA Piper New Zealand, which is building an impressive client list of New Zealand’s largest corporations and household name multinationals such as Westpac New Zealand, Foodstuffs North Island, HSBC and Data Economy Collective. Known for its expertise in the financial services and insurance sectors, the practice’s experience ranges from design and implementation of businesses’ privacy and security programmes, audits, international data transfer strategies, and advising on data loss prevention.

Practice head(s):

Nick Valentine


‘The DLA Data Protection team/offering is led by Partner Nick Valentine who is an up and coming/Next Generation Data/Privacy lawyer in NZ. He has strong experience from Australia and NZ and has a deep understanding of current law and the latest innovations and trends in the space in this area. Nick is also developing a strong team of capable Associates under him.’

Key clients

Foodstuffs North Island

New Zealand Green Building Council

Amazon, Inc.


Auckland Council

AIA Group

Westpac New Zealand


Trustees Executors

Work highlights

  • Advising Foodstuffs on a strategic project to better leverage customer data by engaging UK data science company dunnhumby.
  • Advising the UK Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the data protection and privacy landscape in New Zealand.
  • Advising Akahu, New Zealand’s leading consumer data sharing platform, on privacy and data protection compliance for its pioneering open data platform.


MinterEllisonRuddWatts three-partner data protections team comprises Richard Wells and June Hardacre, who made partner is early 2021, both are based in Auckland, and are supported by public lawyer Briony Davies in Wellington. The team supports domestic and foreign corporate clients solve and mitigate risk from major data breaches, draft privacy policies and data sharing contracts, and meet their privacy compliance obligations. The team maintain a busy practice advising on New Zealand’s recently-implemented privacy legislation, and how the GDPR and other overseas privacy laws affect local businesses.

Practice head(s):

Briony Davies; Richard Wells

Other key lawyers:

June Hardacre


‘The Data Protection team has a great depth of experience and offers all aspects of legal advice to its clients. Minters’ people are systems centric, give practical legal advice and has been highly valued and appreciated by our business.’

‘Richard Wells is an excellent communicator. He combines a personable demeaner with detailed legal knowledge and offers his clients timely and practical legal advice.

Key clients

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

Spark New Zealand

Orbis Diagnostics

The Institute of Directors in New Zealand


Z Energy

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Earthquake Commission (EQC)

Work highlights

  • Assisted Orbis Diagnostics to ensure regulatory requirements were met in respect of a new antibody test they had developed to assess a person’ immunity to COVID-19.
  • Advised US based service commerce platform, EverCommerce, on its acquisition of booking software developer, Timely.
  • Advising the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade in relation to the review of draft Cyber Communication Rules for Tokelau ahead of Tokelau’s new communications cable, which will boost international connectivity and deliver high speed capacity to Tokelau.