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Tompkins Wake attributes Rotorua’s lifestyle appeal to its 30% growth in three years

Peter Fanning, Catriona Gordon and Jon Calder.

Peter Fanning, Catriona Gordon and Jon Calder.

The lifestyle attraction driving population growth in Rotorua has been the impetus for Tompkins Wake’s business growth in the region of 30 percent over the last three years, according to its chief executive Jon Calder. 

The national law firm has welcomed prominent Rotorua lawyer Catriona Gordon, as it continues to grow and expand its reach in Rotorua and across the wider Bay of Plenty.

This week, Catriona joins Tompkins Wake as a new partner, bringing with her a team of two senior solicitors and two legal secretaries. Together, they will increase the size of Tompkins Wake’s Rotorua-based team to 30 staff.

Jon says the firm is thrilled to have attracted a lawyer of Catriona’s calibre, as it responds to growth in demand by the Rotorua community for its services.

“Over the past three years, the transactions and business generated by people migrating for the first time or returning to Rotorua, in addition to our existing client base, have seen our business in the region grow by more than 30 per cent, and there is no sign of it slowing down.

“We’ve seen a trend in people making a lifestyle choice to move to Rotorua because they perceive it as being a great place to live, raise a family and work, even remotely. It’s also a community with strong ties, to which people return, particularly young Māori professionals, because of its sense of family and strong intergenerational history.

“Pre-Covid, we’ve seen many set up small to medium sized businesses in the town, which has created opportunities for us to support them. Housing in Rotorua is also relatively affordable compared to other areas, which is a big drawcard.”

A recent study commissioned by the Rotorua Lakes Council supports this thinking. Rotorua is expected to continue to benefit from having housing that is relatively affordable compared to other nearby urban centres such as Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, which will encourage further inter-regional migration to Rotorua in the near-term. Growth in Rotorua’s employment demand is also expected to draw working migrants into the region.¹

Jon says, as well as being an outstanding lawyer, it is Catriona’s identity in the community and strong local connections that make her a great fit for the Tompkins Wake team.

“In fact, both Catriona and one of her senior solicitors worked for our legacy firm Davys Burton many years ago. It’s that history and local knowledge that is invaluable when it comes to understanding our clients’ needs, particularly as we look to support the local community in the wake of the pandemic.”

Catriona has worked as a property, trust and commercial lawyer in Rotorua since 1994. Her practice, Lava Law, is strongly focused on the legal needs of private clients, their families, and small to medium-sized business owners.

She says she was drawn to Tompkins Wake by its culture of strong leadership, forward thinking and its holistic approach to looking after its clients.

“Tompkins Wake is very focussed on the wellness of its people and giving them what they need to provide great service to its clients as well as ensuring they have great lives outside of work. With 80 solicitors and 25 partners across the country, the firm also has an incredible depth of knowledge and breadth of expertise, which is not only great for our clients, but also for my team’s learning and growth.    

“As lawyers, we work in the service industry, so my philosophy has always been to look after my clients, care for them and make them feel that we understand their needs. I’m excited to have joined a firm that lives and breathes these same values.”

Catriona has a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Arts from The University of Auckland. Her areas of expertise include: Charities and Incorporated Societies; Commercial Property Transactions; Elder Law; Succession Planning; Trusts and Asset Protection; Wills and Estate Planning; Subdivisions and Property Development.

Catriona also holds a number of governance positions including, Opus Orchestra Trust Board Member, Rotorua Trails Trustee, and John Paul College School Board Trustee. She is also the Vice-President of the Haemophilia Foundation of New Zealand.

Tompkins Wake’s history in Rotorua dates back to 1898 when its legacy law firm Davys Burton was founded. More than a century later, it’s clear the firm is here to stay.

Earlier this year, the firm committed to investing $100,000 for four years as naming sponsor of the Rotorua Business Excellence Awards, as well as providing pro-bono legal services to the Rotorua Business Chamber and its members. It also provides financial support and pro-bono services to the Te Aka Mauri the Rotorua Children’s Health Hub and Rotorua Hospice.

Tompkins Wake has offices in Hamilton (HQ), Auckland, Rotorua and Tauranga. For more information click here.

¹ Rotorua District Employment, Population, Household and Visitor Projections - Rotorua Lakes Council, March 2020