Bell Gully > Auckland, New Zealand > Firm Profile

Bell Gully
PO BOX 4199
New Zealand

New Zealand > Banking and finance Tier 1

Recognised for its ‘extremely high quality banking and finance expertiseBell Gully‘s market-leading practice is spearheaded by Wellington based David Craig, and continues to be sought after for its expertise in acquisition funding, and on-going demand for New Zealand dollar-denominated debt by offshore issuers, advisory work and securitisations. Murray King is considered a leader in the securitisation market, while David McPherson is trusted counsel for lenders and borrowers on high-value acquisition and debt restructurings. Leading New Zealand’s only specialist derivatives practice, Craig advised ASX-listed Xero on the New Zealand elements of its US$700m Convertible Note issue, with such notes listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and used to buy back Xero’s existing US$300m guaranteed convertible notes due in 2023 and to pay for potential acquisitions. Jennifer Gunser represents private equity and public and private companies in acquisition/leveraged financings and securitisations; she recently advised Restaurant Brands on the establishment of new global multi-currency facilities across New Zealand, Australia and the US valued at NZ$375m. Senior associates Sam Dykes and Zac Kedgley-Foot are the other central figures in the team. All lawyers are based in Auckland unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):


‘The BG Banking & Finance team have extremely high quality banking and finance expertise. They couple this knowledge with efficient and timely turn arounds on all key requests and engage proactively to ensure they understand and provide advice and solutions with a long term focus. ‘

‘David Craig has supported us from inception with our banking & finance legal requirements. Extremely experienced and knowledgeable of the industry and our company specific legal considerations with regard to our banking & finance structures.’

‘Zac Kedgley-Foot has provided high quality support as we’ve worked through structuring issues on our debt facilities, providing commercial & sound advice to achieve successful outcomes and ensuring things are turned around as efficiently as possible.’

Key clients

Air New Zealand

ANZ Bank New Zealand

Bank of New Zealand

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (including ASB Bank)

Fletcher Building Limited

JP Morgan

Deutsche Bank

Reserve Bank of New Zealand

The New Zealand Treasury

SkyCity Entertainment Group



Work highlights

  • Supported Bluestone Group on a comprehensive restructure of its New Zealand funding programme including amending the terms of two existing funding trusts and establishing a new Prime Warehouse Trust funded by Bank of New Zealand and a new Sub-prime Trust funded by Westpac New Zealand.
  • Assisted Air New Zealand with the negotiation and entry into a secured standby term loan facility agreement with the Crown to assist with the significant impact of COVID-19 on Air New Zealand’s working capital requirements.
  • Advised International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the leading issuers of Kauri bonds, on a dual tranche in November 2020, the first tranche being for NZ$1bn 0.75 per cent. Notes due 10 June 2026 and the second tranche for NZ$300m 1.25 per cent.

New Zealand > Competition law Tier 1

The competition practice at Bell Gully is ‘one of the handful of pure competition law teams in the country which means they have the best gauge of the regulator’s pulse‘ and are engaged in a large number of multi-jurisdictional mergers raising New Zealand issues. This in addition to various cartel matters and restrictive trade practices investigations. The practice assists clients with broader regulatory and compliance issues, such as the latest amendments to make cartel conduct a criminal offence, and potential changes to the law around the misuse of market power. Practice head Torrin Crowther led a team which included senior associate Penny Pasley, in advising Elanco Animal Health Incorporated on its agreement with Bayer AG to acquire its animal health business in a transaction worth US$6.9 bn. Glenn Shewan advises major blue-chip clients such as Mylan and BP on regulatory and legislative policies, cartel investigations, misuse of market power issues and major M&A transactions. Jenny Stevens is a top defence counsel for cartel proceedings and Commerce Commission investigations. All individuals are based in Auckland. Simon Ladd departed in December 2021.

Practice head(s):


‘One of the handful of pure competition law teams in the country which means they have the best gauge of the regulator’s pulse.’

‘Torrin Crowther is the best competition lawyer in the country both technically but more importantly in terms of pragmatism and providing easily understood advice at all levels of a client’s organisation.’

‘Torrin has a unique ability to assess the particular pressures that face our business. His in-depth understanding of both the economic realities of our business and operations and how these might be considered in any particular assessment made by the Commerce Commission is invaluable.’

Key clients

Fletcher Building



Air New Zealand

Todd Corporation

Mylan / Viatris


Goodman Fielder

Frucor Suntory


Work highlights

  • Advised Mylan on its successful merger with Upjohn to form Viatris.
  • Advised McGraw-Hill on the proposed merger with Cengage. McGraw-Hill and Cengage are both global publishers of educational products, such as textbooks and other learning materials used in educational institutions.
  • Advised Nippon Paper (including in relation to the competition aspects) on its acquisition of the Fibre business of Orora Fibre in Australia and NZ for AU$1.7bn, which was a complex transaction structure to carve the Fibre business out from Orora’s retained beverage business.

New Zealand > Corporate and M&A Tier 1

Knowledgeable and user friendly’ Bell Gully is a well established New Zealand commercial practice which is noted for its handling of high value M&A, demergers and joint ventures in the energy, finance, consumer goods and construction sectors. James Cooney  advised BGH Capital and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board on their NZ$136m takeover of NZX-listed Abano Healthcare Group by way of scheme of arrangement, while Dean Alderton advised Asahi Beverages on the acquisition of Allpress Espresso, a premium New Zealand coffee brand. Capital markets, private equity and corporate governance are also significant areas of work. Anna Buchly advises the firms’ private equity clients on their investment in New Zealand. She worked alongside James Gibson on EQT’s first investment into Oceania, by way of it acquisition by a scheme of arrangement of NZX listed Metlifecare, by EQT’s Infrastructure IV Fund. All individuals are based in Auckland unless otherwise stated. Glenn Joblin is the lead corporate lawyer in the insurance space, while in Wellington, names to note are oil and gas lawyer David Coull  and firm deputy chair, Amon Nunns , for corporate acquisitions.

Practice head(s):


‘Well established NZ practice. Strong oil and gas expertise. Knowledgeable, user friendly and always delivers.’

‘David Coull is a recognized expert in upstream oil and gas legal matters in NZ. He is smart, quick to adapt but is very good at clearly articulating the key principles of any deal/issue. Very responsive and thorough.’

Key clients

EQT Infrastructure IV /EQT Private Equity

Resolution Life

Nippon Paper

Stride Property

SkyCity Entertainment Group

Contact Energy

First Sentier Investors


Cognizant Worldwide

Asahi Beverages

Work highlights

  • Advised Resolution Life on the New Zealand aspects of its acquisition of AMP’s wealth protection and mature businesses (AMP Life) for total cash and non-cash consideration of approximately AU$3bn. AMP Life is New Zealand’s second largest life insurer.
  • Advised Bentley Systems on its US$1.05bn acquisition of Seequent, a global leader in 3D modeling software for geosciences.
  • Acting for Australia’s largest superannuation fund, AustralianSuper, on its interest in a potential takeover in respect of NZX-listed infrastructure and utilities investment company Infratil Limited. AustralianSuper’s NZ$5.4bn proposal to acquire all of the shares in Infratil would, if implemented, be the largest takeover ever completed in New Zealand market.

New Zealand > Dispute resolution Tier 1

Bell Gully‘s dispute resolution practice maintains a top-tier rank owing to its experience appearing as senior counsel in trials and appeals at all levels of the New Zealand court system. Areas of particular prominence are commercial and corporate disputes, insurance, public law disputes, Maori law, and a growing white-collar crime practice. The practice has added considerable talent and cross-border expertise to its litigation team with the hire of six new senior associates, many of whom were recruited from London offices of international firms, in addition to the partnership promotion of Kirsty Dobbs and Blair Keown. Simon Ladd and Keown successfully defended Genesis Energy in High Court proceedings concerning novel claims of its alleged responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions. Practice head David Friar continues to act for The Fletcher Construction Company on substantial insurance claims regarding responsibility for fire damage that began at the New Zealand International Conference Centre in late 2019. Sophie East leads complex commercial, banking disputes and arbitrations, often supported by senior associate Richard Massey. Clients say the duo ‘make a great team and provide clear and pragmatic advice.’ Tim Fitzgerald  has a strong record in insolvency, and regulatory investigation matters, while Jesse Wilson is noted for company law and construction disputes. All named individuals are based in Auckland. In Wellington, Jenny Stevens maintains a busy litigious competition law practice, which is complemented by Dobbs’ experience in oil and gas, health law and judicial reviews.

Practice head(s):


‘Sophie East, Partner, is calm and directive. She has the ability to look outside the square when problem solving.’

‘Richard Massey, Senior Associate, writes clearly and concisely. He has the ability to digest complicated matters quickly to help problem solve.’

‘Sophie East and Richard Massey make a great team. They provide clear and pragmatic advice. They divide and conquer as necessary so that we can keep a lid on expenses.’

‘The Bell Gully team are extremely competent and hard working. Their availability is exceptional, and they respond in a timely fashion and provide clear guidance.’

‘Standout partners: David Friar and Tim Fitzgerald. Both provide excellent advice regarding merits of disputes and strong tactical advice how to navigate disputes. Both have also got us out of ambiguous situations – David by making an exceptional case around taking a modern interpretation to antiquated legislation, and Tim in systematically demolishing a suppliers usurious and opportunistic claim against us. ‘

‘I always value Bell Gully’s advice as being honest and their commercial view of the likelihood of success and options to improve our bargaining position. I see them more than solicitors, they are trusted advisers.’


Key clients

Air New Zealand

Arena Living

Asia Pacific Village Group

Auckland Council

AWN Holdings

Electricity Authority

Fletcher Construction Company

Frucor Suntory New Zealand

Fruit Shippers N

Genesis Energy

Work highlights

  • Acted for Asia Pacific Village Group in High Court proceedings concerning the termination of a NZ$1.5bn purchase agreement. This case was significant given its size, the novel issues that it raised relating to material adverse change clauses, and its assessment of the impact of COVID-19.
  • Acting for Genesis in defending a High Court claim brought by a private individual against seven New Zealand companies. The claim asserts three novel private law causes of action against each defendant: public nuisance, negligence, and breach of an inchoate duty. This is the first time that a private law claim has been brought in New Zealand in respect of the greenhouse gas emissions of private businesses. It involves complex issues of legal duties and the interaction of the alleged duties with New Zealand’s statutory climate change regime.
  • Representing the plaintiff, Arena Living Holdings Limited, in a dispute arising from a sale and purchase agreement with Lendlease Capital Services Pty Limited of five retirement villages for a total of $240m.

New Zealand > Insurance Tier 1

Bell Gully‘s ‘strategically minded and careful nuanced approach‘ has helped solidify its strong market position and activity in high-profile M&A transactions and cutting-edge insurance cases, for example, advising on the AU$3.0bn acquisition of AMP’s life insurance and related businesses by Resolution Life. It has also worked with the Insurance Council of New Zealand and various general insurers on a landmark natural disaster response model agreement with the Earthquake Commission. The practice undertakes a substantial amount of insurance claims work, acting for Southern Response, Vero,  AMP Life and Southern Cross in complex court cases. Litigators David Friar and Simon Ladd are the key figures for significant corporate claims, and are supported by Glenn Joblin on transactional matters and regulatory compliance. All individuals are based in Auckland.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘Bell Gully are very strategically minded and have a careful nuanced approach that is designed to try to engage the other side, to try and help them understand the issues as much as we do, so that a negotiated outcome is possible.’

‘Simon Ladd is very measured, yet confident. When he articulates a position it is thoughtful and his views are well respected. He is always keen to seek non-litigation solutions, while still maintaining all options for his client.’

‘Large multi-disciplined firm with high capability. Each partner has their particular area of expertise which is readily available to all clients.’

‘Simon Ladd – Partner. Experienced litigator and highly strategic. Excellent communicator and always available.’

Key clients

AIA New Zealand Limited

AMP Life Limited and Resolution Life Group Holdings Limited

Aon plc

Cigna Life Insurance NZ Limited

IAG New Zealand Limited

Insurance Council of New Zealand

Medical Assurance Society NZ Limited

Southern Cross Medical Care Society

Southern Response Earthquake Services

Tower Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for The Fletcher Construction Company Limited in relation to a fire that began at the New Zealand International Conference Centre on 22 October 2019. This was one of the largest insurance events in New Zealand last year, and has attracted significant media attention.
  • Acting for Southern Response in the Dodds litigation, an important test case that was heard in the High Court last year and is now under appeal in the Court of Appeal. The case addresses a number of novel and cutting-edge insurance law principles, and is likely to affect thousands of similarly situated policyholders with many hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.
  • Acted for Southern Response in the H&H case, a test case concerning the meaning of ‘as new’ under the AMI policy in the recently established Canterbury Earthquake Insurance Tribunal. The case was one of the first five matters heard before the Tribunal.

New Zealand > Labour and employment Tier 1

Bell Gully’s’ highly knowledgeable practice has expanded its corporate employment advisory and litigious offering with the arrival of experienced senior associates Sarah McFetridge in Auckland and in Wellington, Andrea Pazin, who lends her expertise acting for overseas clients and those operating within the education sector. The practice is highly acclaimed for its handling of restructuring and redundancy issues as well as industrial relations engagements, and health and safety matters. Key names in Auckland include practice head and litigator Tim Clarke, who is active on health and safety prosecutions and compliance issues, and Liz Coats, who ‘has a fantastic approach’ in relation to supporting corporate transactions, industrial relations and dispute settlement. Rosemary Wooders is praised for going ‘above and beyond to make the law accessible’. Rachael Brown is the main contact in Wellington.

Practice head(s):


‘The team is highly knowledgeable and able to provide advice in a balanced way that includes elements of risk management and commercial considerations.’

‘Liz Coats – has a fantastic approach and always provides a view to assist with our decision making.’

‘Rosemary Wooders goes above and beyond to make the law accessible. She always has time to explain concepts which enables you to build your knowledge.’

‘Provides knowledgeable and definitive advice. Responds promptly to queries – has a pragmatic approach to solving problems and proposing solutions.’

‘Tim Clarke and his team provide excellent advice and it is a pleasure working with them.’

‘Rachael Brown was outstanding. Her astuteness, approachability and quiet humour, combined with her expertise and wisdom, made a somewhat tortuous situation navigable.’

Key clients

Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology

Ministry of Education

Rocket Lab

Department of Corrections

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing

Todd Corporation

Goodman Fielder


Hawaiian Airlines

Work highlights

  • Advised EQT Infrastructure IV Fund on its NZ$1.49 billion acquisition of NZX-listed Metlifecare by way of a scheme of arrangement, including employment aspects of due diligence and sale and purchase agreement.
  • Advised Nippon Paper on its acquisition of the Fibre business of Orora Fibre in Australia and NZ for AU$1.7 billion, including employment aspects of due diligence, sale and purchase agreement and post-completion employment matters.
  • Represented Goodman Fielder in a private prosecution brought by an injured worker who suffered injuries from a fall from height at a distribution centre.

New Zealand > Projects and resources management (including environment) Tier 1

Bell Gully has been closely involved with the government response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with Simon Watt leading the team on negotiations for vaccine purchase agreements. The practice also advised on funding facilities to assist Pacific Island countries during the pandemic. The firm advises on large-scale infrastructure projects and resource management head Andrew Beatson has led on a number of  substantial projects in the transport, port redevelopment and social housing arenas. He works in concert with infrastructure head Hugh Kettle who also advises on PPPs and financing and environmental and resource management specialist Natasha Garvan who has represented Auckland Transport in the Environment Court. David Coull heads the energy practice which serves major oil, gas and mining clients and the team is also advising clients in relation to geothermal projects.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Beatson;David Coull; Hugh Kettle

Other key lawyers:


‘Strategic, responsive, personable.’

‘Natasha Garvan – very personable, kind, respectful, strategic, responsive. Andrew Beatson – friendly, strategic, strong litigator.’

‘They understand our business, pressures and aims, when this is matched with their specific expertise positive outcomes are achieved.’

‘Andrew Beatson is exceptional. His advice is concise, pragmatic and spot-on. He sees the big picture and cuts out the fluff. We always focus effort in the right area, there is no wastage and therefore time (ie costs) are also kept to a minimum. Natasha Garvan is super-efficient. Has an excellent approach in engaging with officials and teasing out issues in a non-confrontational manner.’

Key clients

The Treasury

Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Ministry of Defence

Ministry of Education

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Ministry of Housing and Urban Development

Department of Corrections

Te Waihanga – The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission

Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities

Electricity Authority

Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology

Te Tupu Ngātahi – The Supporting Growth Alliance

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Waka Kotahi – The New Zealand Transport Agency


Wellington City Council

Barton NZ Limited / The Barton Group

Contact Energy Limited

Electricity Authority

First Gas Limited

Meridian Energy Limited

New Zealand Oil & Gas Limited

Ofer Group

Trans-Tasman Resources Limited

Transpower New Zealand

Wellington Electricity Lines Limited

City Rail Link Limited

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

Kainga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand)

Marlborough District Council

Meridian Energy Limited

Port Marlborough New Zealand Limited

Tainui Group Holdings

Te Tupu Ngātahi – The Supporting Growth Alliance (an alliance comprising NZTA, AT, Auckland Council, Buddle Findlay, Bell Gully, Beca and Aecom)

Transpower New Zealand Limited

Auckland Transport

Wellington City Council

Precinct Properties

Tainui Group Holdings

Costco New Zealand

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

New Zealand Infrastructure Commission – Te Waihanga

Ministry of Defence

West Village Capital Partners


Work highlights

  • Advising Auckland Transport and Waka Kotahi The New Zealand Transport Agency on Te Tupu Ngātahi (the Supporting Growth Alliance), as part of the Alliance legal team, on route protection of the transportation network required to service the next 30 years of Auckland’s growth – the largest professional services alliance to be established in New Zealand, and the first of its kind in respect of establishing an interrelated transport network in multiple areas.
  • Advised the New Zealand Government Vaccine Strategy Task Force, working with officials from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), the Ministry of Health, PHARMAC and the Treasury, on negotiations with the global COVAX facility and advance purchase agreements that will secure a portfolio of COVID vaccines to cover a spectrum of needs for New Zealand’s population, also extending to cover Niue, Tokelau and the Cook Islands – a highly significant part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Advising Port Marlborough New Zealand on its nationally significant proposal to fully redevelop Port Picton to accommodate New Zealand’s future inter-island freight and passenger services between the North and South Islands.

New Zealand > Real estate and construction

Bell Gully has an ‘exceptionally strong’ real estate and construction practice, known for its handling of major private and public sector mandates, including significant city transformation and infrastructure schemes. The firm’s expertise encompasses contentious and non-contentious work, which includes the structuring, procurement and implementation of projects, foreign investment transactions and widespread litigation. Andrew Petersen heads the property and real estate practice, handling a high volume of large-scale acquisitions and Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approvals. Ian Becke – for whom clients include Auckland Transport and Costco New Zealand – and Simon Ladd lead an experienced construction team alongside Wellington-based David Chisnall. Also in Wellington, commercial and corporate expert Toni Forrest offers ‘exceptional support’, while Kirsty Dobbs made partner in January 2021. Disputes specialist Jesse Wilson and the experienced Jane Holland are further key contacts; all named lawyers are based in Auckland unless otherwise stated.


‘Excellent depth and breadth of commercial experience.’

‘Andrew Petersen is outstanding on OIO matters, with an almost unparalleled working knowledge of the legislation and its practical application.’

‘The team is an exceptionally strong group, who are commercial, pragmatic, efficient, very responsive and great to deal with.’

‘Andrew Petersen is a pleasure to deal with. He knows what it takes to get deals done quickly and efficiently and is a outstanding problem solver.’

‘They get the job done without fuss.’

‘Andrew Petersen is a star in relation to overseas investment issues and he is well supported by his team (Brooke Reed until recently and now Sarah Ryan) – excellent advice and detailed documentation. Karl Andersen has provided good advice on some tricky development and leasing issues.

‘Bell Gully is a “go-to” firm for strategic advice on high-risk and complex matters.’

‘Toni Forrest provides exceptional support by understanding an organisation’s risk appetite and key drivers and navigating complex and high-risk issues. Hugh Kettle is a class act.

Key clients

Auckland Transport

ANZ Bank

Arena Living

Asset Plus


Costco New Zealand

David Jones


Fletcher Building

Horizons Regional Council

IAG New Zealand

Irongate Group (formerly Investec Australia)

Invesco Real Estate

Kiwi Property Group

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Ministry of Defence

New Zealand Infrastructure Commission

Ngāi Tahu Property

PAG Real Estate

Port Marlborough

Precinct Properties Limited

St Kentigern College

Stride Property

Tainui Group Holdings

Tāmaki Redevelopment Company

Taupo District Council

Tauranga City Council

Vital Healthcare Property Trust

Wellington City Council

Wilshire Group

West Village Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised PAG Real Estate on its forward purchase of premium grade office buildings in Auckland, including the largest value office building purchase of 2020 in New Zealand.
  • Advised Stride Property Group on the NZ$380m acquisition of four premium grade office properties in Auckland and Wellington, the establishment of a new industrial property-focused investment management fund and the disposal of large format retail properties.
  • Advised Port Marlborough on its nationally significant proposed project to fully redevelop Port Picton to accommodate New Zealand’s future interisland freight and passenger services between the North and South Islands.

New Zealand > Tax Tier 1

The ‘technically astute’ Graham Murray leads the team at Auckland-based Bell Gully, which is noted for its skills handling complex tax controversies, Inland Revenue audits and transfer pricing disputes. The team offers expertise in private client work, indirect tax, customs and excise matters, and on tax aspects of migration and local property acquisitions and investments. On the contentious side, Mathew McKay, a ‘trusted adviser and a safe pair of hands’ together with Hayden Roberts acts for taxpayers throughout both the taxpayer disputes procedures and resulting litigation. Willy Sussman specialises in indirect and private client taxation, as does the ‘swift, responsive and cost conscious’ special counsel Campbell Pentney.

Practice head(s):


We found the Bell Gully tax team to be extremely responsive, commercial and pragmatic – as well as very technically strong.’

‘We worked with Graham Murray and thought Graham was brilliant. He managed to balance being very technically astute with commercial pragmatism. He was always quick to grasp complex technical issues (both UK and NZ) and deliver helpful practical advice. ‘

‘Mathew McKay always delivers high quality, commercial advice, on short turn-around times. When you are in a tight spot it is comforting to know that you have Mathew in your corner – he is a trusted adviser and a safe pair of hands.’

‘Hayden Roberts provides excellent customer service.’

‘Willy Sussman is my first point of contact and he takes a personal interest in providing an outstanding service.’

‘Bell Gully is incredibly professional and their subject matter experts in the area of taxation is technically very strong and capable. I am particularly impressed by their degree of integration/collaboration with their colleagues responsible for advising in other areas.’

‘Bell Gully is excellent to work with. They are our go to for New Zealand legal issues on complex topics, including cutting edge emerging technologies’

‘Campbell Pentney deserves special praise for being highly adept at tackling complex matters, as well as being swift, responsive and cost conscious.’

Key clients

Frucor / Danone

Downer Group

Vodafone New Zealand

Emirates Team New Zealand

L&F Limited

Modern Times Group MTG AB

Bluestone Group

Pearlfisher Capita

Work highlights

  • Advised the Downer Group on the New Zealand aspects of a refinancing projected relating to Downer’s increase of its shareholding in the Spotless group to 100%.
  • Advised Swedish digital entertainment company Modern Times Group MTG AB on tax aspects of its acquisition of Ninja Kiwi.
  • Advised Emirates Team New Zealand on a proposed restructuring.

New Zealand > TMT Tier 1

Bell Gully‘s TMT practice has an impressive track record advising governments and public bodies on nationally significant technology deals. Recent examples include working with the Department of Corrections on its cutting-edge Managed Cellular Communications agreements with Spark (and TeCore of the US) for the jamming of mobile phone communications in prisons. It also demonstrates skill in corporate matters, virtual reality and new technologies and advising on procurement and contractual arrangements. In Wellington, head of IT Dean Oppenhuis and special counsel Susannah Shaw advised New Zealand-based global mobile app vendor Plexure Group on its agreement with US burger chain White Castle to use Plexure’s platform for mobile engagement with loyalty programmes. Auckland-based litigator Tania Goatley is growing the media practice. Alan Rigwood retired from partnership.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘Key strength is breadth of experience at the intersection of commercial and technology. Generally consistent high quality across the team.’

‘Dean Oppenhuis great on strategic perspective. ‘

Key clients









Tik Tok

Lightspeed POS

Bentley Systems

Taxicharge New Zealand


New Zealand Guardian Trust

Work highlights

  • Advises NZME., the media entity in New Zealand, on all aspects of media law, including vetting stories and articles, complaints; defending defamation and other claims, opposing court suppression orders, and copyright and other intellectual property issues.
  • Advising the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on its preparations, including procurement of virtual meeting software, privacy aspects and sponsorship arrangements, for New Zealand’s hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in 2021.
  • Advised Lightspeed POS, the leading NYSE-listed provider of cloud-based, omnichannel commerce platforms, on its proposed acquisition of Vend Limited, for US$350m.

New Zealand > Transport (rail, road, air and sea) Tier 1

Bell Gully offers an experienced transport practice, with clients including New Zealand’s most significant companies and operators such as Air New Zealand and Auckland Transport. In Wellington, Andrew Beatson is a key figure in the resource management and infrastructure spaces, and Hugh Kettle focuses on major infrastructure projects and banking transactions, working with public sector bodies. In Auckland, Natasha Garvan focuses on environmental and resource management matters.

Other key lawyers:


Key clients

Air New Zealand

Auckland Transport

Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency

City Rail Limited

Port Marlborough


Tainui Group Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advising Auckland Transport and NZ Transport Agency on Te Tupu Ngātahi (The Supporting Growth Alliance).
  • Advised City Rail Link Limited and its predecessor AT on all aspects of the City Rail Link project.
  • Advised Tainui Group Holdings on a nationally-significant and highly strategic project to develop an inland port at Ruakur.

New Zealand > Intellectual property Tier 2

Bell Gully’s IP team is led by special counsel Sooyun Lee who specialises in all aspects of trade mark and broader IP law. On the brand side, Lee is experienced with developing brand strategies, registrations, advertising regulations, as well as handling a growing number of trade mark infringement and oppositions. The practice demonstrates expertise on commercial aspects relating to IP, including M&A, due diligence and licensing.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Resolution Life Group Holdings Limited

Integral Diagnostics Limited


Advent Partners

Ministry Of Education


Reckitt Benckiser

Frucor Suntory New Zealand Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing Frucor Suntory New Zealand Limited (Frucor), producer of the classic V energy drink, in a dispute concerning Frucor’s trade mark registration for its distinctive ‘V Green’ colour, described specifically as the colour shade Pantone 376C.
  • Advised Resolution Life on the New Zealand aspects of its acquisition of AMP’s wealth protection and mature businesses (AMP Life) for total cash and non-cash consideration of approximately AU$3bn. AMP Life is New Zealand’s second largest life insurer.
  • Advising Unilever PLC and related entities on all of its IP matters in New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

New Zealand > Investment funds Tier 2

Bell Gully offers ‘an unrivalled depth of knowledge and experience in the area, which is coupled with an intense client focused ethic’. It’s main partner, Haydn Wong draws on his expertise in corporate law and financial services to advise New Zealand’s largest fund managers and supervisors on superannuation and insurance matters, fund establishment, and portfolio rationalisation. In Wellington, ‘outstanding lawyerAmon Nunns advises both listed and unlisted companies on public offers, private placements, employee share plans, stock exchange compliance and company and securities law. Special Council Katie Dow is recommended for unit trusts, superannuation, KiwiSaver and insurance.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


An unrivalled depth of knowledge and experience in the area, which is coupled with an intense client focused ethic.’

‘Amon Nunns is outstanding as a lawyer and valued commercial advisor. He runs a strong and cohesive team which delivers a comprehensive service.’

Key clients


ANZ Bank

Craigs Investment Partners

The New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Limited

Suncorp / Asteron

Covenant Trustee Services Limited

First State Investments

Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation

Stride Property Limited

Pearlfisher Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Pearlfisher Capital on the establishment of the Pearlfisher Capital First Mortgage Fund I. The Fund was established to provide first mortgage loans to borrowers who are undertaking property development and property investment transactions within the New Zealand property market.
  • Advised Guardian Trust on a range of activities in relation to its role as supervisor of managed investment schemes. During the review period, this work included general regulatory advice (including in relation to the FMCA).
  • Advising Craigs Investment Partners on their five managed investment schemes. Craigs Investment Partners is one of New Zealand’s largest investment advisory and management firms.

New Zealand > Restructuring and insolvency Tier 2

Bell Gully consistently works on high-profile restructurings, insolvencies and property receiverships for New Zealand’s leading receivers, banks and accounting firms. Recent work saw David McPherson and Tim Fitzgerald advise Antares Restaurant Group, the operator of the Burger King franchise in New Zealand and its directors, on its creditor compromise and the receivership of its holding company. Fitzgerald is an experience litigator for lenders and insolvency practitioners on claims against debtors, directors, auditors, and insurers. McPherson is an authority on debt restructuring, distressed debt acquisitions and receiverships.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


No client feedback

Key clients


ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited


McGrath Nicol


ASB Bank


Grant Thornton

Work highlights

  • Advising Worldwide Leisure Limited on a dispute arising from a dispute between two parties that claim to have an interest in the assets of the client that owned Huka Lodge.
  • Acting for Calibre Partners as receivers of three recent high-profile receiverships.

The firm: Bell Gully is independently recognised as New Zealand’s leading commercial law firm. The firm helps many of New Zealand’s leading companies and public sector agencies navigate their most complex and ambitious projects along with their day-to-day operational issues. The firm has a team of 194 lawyers who combine market leading corporate, commercial, employment, financial services, dispute resolution, property and tax capability along with a wide array of specialist skills. The firm’s range of expertise and experience is extensive, and their work ranges from the most complex and ambitious projects and difficult cases, to day to day operational issues. Bell Gully consistently delivers practical solutions to everyday and unique problems.

Internationally, the firm works with prestigious multinational clients and maintains strong links with leading law firms in Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States.

The firm’s service is founded on being available, commercial and cost-effective – and on being enjoyable to work with. Through dedication to understanding clients’ business and goals, the firm translates the law into everyday commercial language, provides solutions and prepares clients for challenges before they arise.

Areas of practice: Bell Gully is a full-service law firm. Major practice areas include corporate, financial services, property, tax and litigation, and the firm is capable of acting on large and complex commercial matters.

Areas of expertise include: acquisition finance; agribusiness; arbitration; asset finance; banking and finance; banking and finance litigation; class actions; climate change; commercial; commissions and inquiries; competition; construction; consumer law; corporate governance and advisory; cyber security; debt capital markets; derivatives; employee share schemes; employment; energy; entertainment finance; environment and planning; equity capital markets; financial sector regulation; food, beverage and hospitality; forestry; goods and services tax; health; health and safety; immigration and relocation; information, communications and technology; infrastructure and projects; insurance; intellectual property; international; international trade – customs and excise; joint ventures; litigation and dispute resolution; Maori; media; mergers and acquisitions; overseas investment; privacy and data protection; private equity and venture capital; project finance; property and real estate; property finance; public law; regulatory investigations and prosecutions; residential property; restructuring and insolvency; securitisation; structured finance; takeovers; tax; tax disputes and litigation; transport; trusts, asset and estate planning; water, waste and contamination.

Number of lawyers : 194
at this office : 145
Asia Pacific Loan Market Association
Association of International Petroleum Negotiators
Financial Services Institute of Australasia
Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of NZ
Other offices : Wellington

The Big Picture: Understanding the new prohibition on ‘unconscionable conduct’

A new prohibition against ‘unconscionable conduct’ in trade is one of a number of changes to the Fair Trading Act 1986 that came into force from 16 August 2022. The new prohibition may have wide-ranging implications for many businesses, and could potentially lead to prolonged debate in the courts as to the types of conduct that should be considered ‘unconscionable’. 

Bell Gully advises Vodafone NZ on sale of passive mobile tower business to InfraRed Capital Partners and Northleaf Capital Partners alongside Infratil reinvestment

Bell Gully is delighted to have advised Vodafone New Zealand Limited (Vodafone NZ) on the proposed establishment and sale of its passive mobile tower business for NZ$1.7 billion to funds managed or advised by leading global investors InfraRed Capital Partners (InfraRed) (on behalf of HICL Infrastructure plc) and Northleaf Capital Partners (Northleaf).

Bell Gully report reviews 2022 GST reforms and future direction

A collection of changes in New Zealand’s GST regime will keep corporate taxpayers on their toes in 2022.

Bell Gully advises Crown Infrastructure Partners on new funding model for Fulton Hogan’s Milldale de

Bell Gully advised Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) on the development and implementation of a new funding model recently announced by the Government at Fulton Hogan's Milldale development, north of Auckland. Work on the project commenced in early 2018 and reached financial close last month.

Bell Gully confirmed as exclusive legal supplier for Emirates Team New Zealand

Bell Gully is proud to announce that it is an exclusive legal supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand for the 36th America's Cup defence.

Bell Gully advises on the acquisition of New Zealand fintech TALKINGTECH

Bell Gully has advised data registry and analytics business illion (formerly trading as Dun & Bradstreet) on its acquisition of fintech business TALKINGTECH.

Bell Gully advises Contact Energy on Rockgas sale

Bell Gully advised Contact Energy Limited (Contact) on the sale of its LPG business, Rockgas, to Gas Services NZ Midco Limited (GSNZ) for $260 million.

Bell Gully advises Nelson Properties Limited and Global Forest Partners LP on the sale of Nelson For

Bell Gully advised Nelson Properties Limited (NPL), an investment fund advised by Global Forest Partners LP (GFP), on the sale of shares in Nelson Forests Limited to Australian forestry company OneFortyOne Plantations Holdings Pty Limited (OFO), which received regulatory approval to proceed in late August.

Bell Gully advises Straker Translations Limited on its IPO and ASX listing

Bell Gully advised Straker Translations Limited on its initial public offering (IPO) and listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on October 22. Straker Translations Limited is a cloud-enabled translation services provider with sales offices across nine countries, includ​ing the US, UK and Singapore.

Leading law firms advise on Fletcher Building sale of Roof Tile Group to IKO

Leading law firms Chapman Tripp and Bell Gully advised on Fletcher Building’s sale of international roofing products manufacturer Roof Tile Group (RTG) to Canadian roofing company IKO.​

Bell Gully acts on a significant tax avoidance win

Bell Gully represented Frucor Suntory New Zealand Limited in Frucor Suntory New Zealand Limited v Commissioner of Inland Revenue, a High Court decision which marks an important victory for New Zealand tax-paying entities on tax avoidance. 

​​​Bell Gully leads New Zealand across key IFLR1000 2019 ranking categories

International Financial Law Review (IFLR) has recognised Bell Gully as leading the New Zealand market across key categories in its latest directory released in early November.

Busiest year for takeovers in a decade

New Zealand listed companies attracted strong interest from buyers in 2017, producing the highest level of takeover activity seen in the past decade, according to a new update by law firm Bell Gully.

Simon Watt ranked as international climate change expert in Chambers Global 2018

Bell Gully partner Simon Watt is the only New Zealand climate change expert ranked in international climate change rankings of Chambers Global for a fourth consecutive year.

Bell Gully welcomes new Chair

Leading law firm Bell Gully has appointed Anna Buchly as its new Chair.

Bell Gully advises on the sale of leading Auckland radiology groups

​​​Bell Gully has advised the sellers on the sale of three leading Auckland radiology groups to Australian listed medical imaging company Integral Diagnostics (ASX: IDX).

Bell Gully advises on nationally significant Asset Management and Facilities Management contract

Bell Gully has advised the Department of Corrections on a new national Asset Management and Facilities Management Services contract, considered to be one of the most significant outsourcings by the New Zealand Government in recent years.

Bell Gully welcomes two new senior associates

Bell Gully has further strengthened the senior ranks of its corporate and resource mana​gement teams with the appointment of two new senior associates, Ryan Ellis ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​and ​​​Jill Gregory​.

Bell Gully advises Orion Health Group Limited on its transaction with private equity technology inve

​​​Bell Gully advised NZX/ASX listed company Orion Health Group Limited (Orion Health) on its agreement in relation to Orion Health's Rhapsody and Population Health businesses with private equity technology investor Hg. Hg is a specialist technology private equity investor with funds of c.£10 billion under management.

Bell Gully releases ninth Pro Bono and Community report

Many of the charitable organisations we partner with work tirelessly raising awareness for groups in society that are marginalised and unheard. They strive to give them a voice and the practical support they need to thrive.​

Bell Gully advises software company Gentrack on accelerated entitlement offer

Bell Gully is advising NZX/ASX listed company Gentrack on an accelerated entitlement offer as it seeks to raise approximately NZD$90 million to pay down debt from recent acquisitions. Gentrack provides essential software services to utilities companies and airports.​

Bell Gully wins Deal Firm of the Year at the 2018 Australasian Law Awards

Bell​ Gully is delighted to have won the top New Zealand award, Deal Firm of the Year, at the 2018 Australasian Law Awards.

Bell Gully leads in M&A league tables for 2017

Bell Gully has retained its market-leading position as a legal adviser for mergers and acquisitions, according to two major international league tables released in January.

Bell Gully competition team awarded ‘Elite’ global ranking

Bell Gully’s competition team has secured an ‘Elite’ ranking from the Global Competition Review’s GCR100 global survey of the world’s leading competition law practices for a 13th consecutive year.

Bell Gully announces two new partners and nine senior appointments

Bell Gully is pleased to announce the appointment of two new partners, a new special counsel and eight new senior associates. The new partners are corporate specialist Laura Littlewood and commercial litigator Jesse Wilson.

Bell Gully performs strongly in top legal directories

The latest results from leading legal directories The Legal 500 Asia Pacific and Chambers Asia Pacific confirm Bell Gully’s leading position in the New Zealand legal market.

Bell Gully releases eighth Pro Bono and Community report

Bell Gully releases eighth Pro Bono and Community report

Monday 24 July 2017

​​​New Zealand’s communities are supported by a diverse range of charitable organisations, many of which have come up with inventive approaches to address areas of need.

​​At Bell Gully we support these initiatives in the best way we can - by providing free legal advice - so charities can direct their resources towards helping our local communities thrive. Last year, the value of our pro bono work exceeded our NZ$1 million fee equivalent budget.

Bell Gully tops first quarter M&A league tables

​Bell Gully has topped the three major international league tables for mergers and acquisitions in the first quarter of 2017, extending the market-leading position the firm held in 2016.