BCom - University of Auckland

LLB ( Hons) - University of Auckland



Kate currently practices as a barrister, mediator, collaborative practitioner, family law arbitrator and arbitral assistant/secretary. She has considerable experience in mediation and arbitration across a wide range of commercial, property and family disputes. She has particular expertise in resolving family disputes involving companies, trusts, relationship property and estates.


Prior to coming to the law Kate had a 20 year career in business. Her work included people, project and product management; sales and marketing; primary and secondary research; exporting; directorships; and consultancy. She has particular experience in the manufacturing, primary industry, finance and healthcare sectors.


Kate chairs the board of a charitable community service organisation which employs around 60 staff. She is a co-founder and former secretary of a heritage society. She served two terms as an elected trustee on a school board.

Case Highlights

Arbitrations, mediations and collaborative settlements

Commercial, family, property and trust disputes. Details unavailable due to confidentiality.

Bain and Pakeho Reports

Assisted with research and writing of reports to the Minister of Justice on compensation claims.

Recent Cases

Ngavaevae v Harrison [2017] NZHC 2788

Appeared for Ms Ngavaevae, who successfully sustained her notice of claim over a property in Blockhouse Bay, Auckland. Ms Ngavaevae satisfied the Court it was reasonably arguable she and the Mr Harrison had been in a de facto relationship, despite Mr Harrison having had two consecutive marriages with other women during the 19 years he and Ms Ngavaevae were together.

The property dispute was eventually successfully resolved between the parties at a judicial settlement conference.

Jones v O’Keeffe [2019] NZCA 222, [2018] NZHC 2482

Acted for Ms O’Keeffe, who had successfully applied to the High Court to remove Mr Jones, a solicitor, as a trustee of her father’s estate. The High Court had ordered Mr Jones to pay all Ms O’Keeffe’s costs on an indemnity basis. Mr Jones appealed. The Court of Appeal reduced the portion of Ms O’Keeffe’s costs Mr Jones was required to pay, but ordered him to pay part, and prohibited him from being reimbursed by the trust for any of his own costs.

B v Commissioner of Inland Revenue (2019 and 2020) NZFC

Acted for Mr and Mrs B, whose teenage daughter had chosen to live with another couple. The Bs successfully appealed against liability to pay child support for their daughter when she was enrolled at school after she turned 18. Her enrolment that year consisted of one correspondence school subject. She had attended a tertiary institution the year before. The Bs were awarded costs in full despite being unsuccessful on another part of their appeal.

W v F [2020] NZFC 8205

Appeared for Ms W, who successfully obtained costs in a family violence matter after a final protection order had been made on an unopposed basis. Mr F had opposed the order until 6 days before the hearing.

What Others Say


  • Professional Responsibilities of Arbitrators” (Chapter 26) and “Professional Responsibilities of Mediators” (Chapter 27) in Matthew Palmer (ed) Professional Responsibility in New Zealand (LexisNexis, Wellington, 2020) (co-author).

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• Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (Associate; Family Law Arbitration Panel member)

• Auckland District Law Society

• Auckland Women Lawyers’ Association

• Collaborative Resolution NZ

• Family Law Section, New Zealand Law Society

• New Zealand Bar Association

• New Zealand Law Society.