About John Harkness
Career to date
“I was admitted as a barrister in 1973. In 1975 I became a partner at Scott Hardie Boys Morrison and Jeffries where I had worked as a law clerk since 1971. Between 1987 and 2009 I was a partner in several firms including Russell McVeagh. In 2009 I became a principal at Harkness Law Limited, where I remained until its merger with Gibson Sheat in 2014.
My practice focuses on all aspects of commercial property and property law, including:
commercial sales and purchases
funding joint ventures
building and construction contracts
unit title developments
residential sales and purchases, and
private client advice.”
John was a foundation member of the Property Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society and served on its executive for 6 years.
John’s property law expertise has seen him present a number of seminars on various property-related topics for New Zealand Law Society and LexisNexis. He has also been an expert witness in numerous court cases. John was convenor of the Law Society Working Party making submissions on the Unit Titles Act 2010.
My recent work
I have acted for Ian Cassels and his Wellington Company Group for over 20 years. An example of a more recent transaction for that client included the sale of 50 Manners Street, development and leasing of a Tory Street property to ANZ and subsequent sale.
Professional associations and community organisations
- Trustee of Mary Potter Hospice Foundation
- Trustee of Wellington City Life Education Trust
My approach to working with my clients
I establish a good rapport with my clients. I understand their business and their requirements so I can provide practical and pragmatic advice.
My most rewarding experience at work
Working with developers of Maritime Towers in Customhouse Quay and achieving a successful acquisition of land, building contract, funding and leasing to two major professional firms. Challenging and very rewarding.
The best piece of advice I've ever been given
"Understand your clients and their objectives and always provide independent objective and pragmatic advice.”
What stimulates me?
Achieving a positive result for a client and knowing that your advice and input has been appreciated.
What I enjoy outside of work
I enjoy reading, plays, cinema, good food and wine and relaxing with family and friends. Watching (not participating in) most sports.
If I wasn't a lawyer I'd...
be a successful writer!