Our offices will close for the holiday period from 5.00pm Thursday 23 December 2021 and reopen at 8.30am on Thursday 13 January 2022. For urgent matters during this time, please contact Katrina Hammon on 021 221 8847, or Andrew Watkins on 021 905 506.
Thank you for your support in 2021 and we wish you all the best for the new year.
Noho ora mai

Andrew Watkins

LLB, Partner

Andrew has specialised in the resolution of complex relationship property and estate matters, often involving numerous trusts, companies and partnership interests, for over 25 years.  Whether Andrew is dealing with farms, businesses, or legal, accounting or medical practices Andrew’s approach is client centred, practical, pragmatic and commercial.
Andrew has been involved in many high-profile cases and he regularly provides media comment nationally on issues relating to relationship property, trusts and estates.  Over the last 15 years Andrew has presented to lawyers, accountants and other special interest groups at numerous national conferences on the Property (Relationships) Act and its interplay with trust law, which is a special interest area of his.
Having completed courses in advanced negotiation and advanced mediation at Harvard, Andrew is also a keen advocate of alternative dispute resolution and has conducted over 100 successful mediations throughout his career. 
Andrew also presents occasional lectures on relationship property at the University of Canterbury.  
Andrew is a past member of the Property (Relationships) Act Committee of the NZ Family Law Section and Lawyers Engaged in Alternative Dispute Resolution (LEADR) and is currently on the organising committees for the NZLS CLE Trust Conference and Relationship Property Intensive. 

In the 2021 Doyles Guide, Andrew is recognised for his expertise in Family and Relationship Property law. 

Recent Projects

  • The following are examples of Andrew’s legal work whilst at Wynn Williams and other firms:

  • Counsel to assist the High Court in a five-day hearing which involved the cross examination of several overseas witnesses regarding the status and disposition of disputed property.

  • Representing the applicant’s wife in respect of various claims against a farm under s44 and s44C PRA, 182 Family Proceedings Act and under constructive trust principles.

  • Acting for a significant property developer in respect of a matter involving over 40 trusts and 19 companies.

  • Bringing and opposing claims under s182 Family Proceedings Act.

  • Interim and final applications for spousal maintenance.

  • Drafting numerous contracting out agreements under s21 of the PRA for couples wishing to protect assets in first or subsequent relationships.

  • Negotiating and drafting settlement agreements under s21A of the PRA for asset pools in excess of $300,000,000.

  • Defending PRA proceedings commenced after death by an executor seeking further provision for the deceased’s adult children from a first marriage.

  • Issuing proceedings over a disputed farm property after a lengthy second marriage.

  • Negotiating resolution to a difficult family protection claim.

  • Successfully opposing an application to set aside a s21 A agreement.

  • Three disputes over valuation issues.

  • Being on the legal team for Thomson v Thomson [2015] 1NZLR 593 a case that went before the Supreme Court over the status of a restraint of trade payment under the PRA.

  • Advising on four farming succession files.

Recent Articles


Does the Property (Relationships) Act apply to polyamorous relationships?

A recent case from the Auckland High Court has raised a novel new issue: whether the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (“PRA”) applies to a “polyamorous relationship”? A polyamorous relationship is where a relationship exists between more than two people, which is consented to by the parties involved.

Keep reading...


COVID-19 Bubble trouble

New Zealanders are having to quickly adjust to a new normal as we face the COVID-19 crisis and the introduction of “alert levels” which greatly restrict the way we live. “Bubble” is a term coined by our Prime Minister to describe the group of people who make up a household. For the four weeks (at least), we are all under strict orders to stay in our bubble and stay home. This drastic change to our way of living is guaranteed to bring about new challenges.

Keep reading...


Valuations and COVID-19: The effect of a global pandemic on relationship property divisions

Separation and the division of relationship property is a stressful and uncertain process under normal circumstances. This will only be exacerbated during a global pandemic.

Keep reading...


Prenups – not just for the rich and famous

A prenup, or to use its technical term “Contracting Out Agreement”, may be one of the most important documents you’ll ever sign. Approximately 10 per cent of couples have them, and they are becoming increasingly popular.

Keep reading...

Reported Decisions

  • Lu v Huang and Fen [2016] NZHC 2311

  • Beaven v Beaven [2015] NZFC 611

  • GCH v SHM [2014] NZHC 211 and 29 FRNZ 727

  • Williams v Williams 2006-406-2943

  • Ferguson v Ferguson 2006 FAM 2003-009-2954

  • B v M [1999] NZFLR161

  • B v M [Adoption] 17 FRNZ 289

  • B v M [Adoption] No 2 17 FRNZ 302

Speaking Engagements

  • "The Trusts Act 2019; Dispute resolution clauses" - Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand Arbitration Day October 2019

  • NZLS Trusts conference June 2019

  • “Family Trusts and the PRA” - seven national workshops (with Simon Weil) May 2018

  • “Trusts on Trial - Documenting the division” - Trusts Conference 2017

  • “Family Trusts and the PRA” – six national workshops (with Simon Weil) September 2015

  • “Relationship Property for Accountants” – Fifteen, one-day ICANZ workshops throughout New Zealand 2015

  • “Trusts for Property Lawyers” – NZLS Seminar November 2012


  • "The Trusts Act 2019; Dispute resolution clauses" - Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand Arbitration Day October 2019

  • I’m Still Standing Better than I Ever did? The Castle Six Years on - Trusts and the PRA. NZLS Workshop May 2018 pages 19-72.

  • The Devil is in the Detail - The Do’s and Don’ts of Documenting the Division. NZLS Trusts Conference June 2017.

  • Attacking the Castle! - Claims Against Trusts - Trusts for Property Lawyers CLE November 2012 pages 53-99

  • Three Years on… Is the Castle Still Standing? Family Trusts and the PRA Workshop, NZLS September 2015 pages 39-83.
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