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Sawmilling awakening opened door for West Coast lawyer

05 May 2016 - By Jock Anderson

Working in a Bay of Plenty sawmill taught Joseph Morris what he didn't want in a job but it wasn't until halfway through a classics degree he found law ticked all his boxes.

Recently appointed manager of Christchurch firm Parry Field's Hokitika office, Joseph says he didn't know what to do after leaving school so worked in a sawmill for a year.

 Joseph Stephen (Joseph) Morris

BornTauranga, brought up in New Plymouth.
Age32.
Entry to lawGraduated LLB and BA in Classical History from Otago University. Admitted in 2009.
WorkplaceAssociate and Manager of Parry Field Hokitika office.
Specialty areasCommercial property, conveyancing, estates, civil litigation, family law and dispute resolution.


"I decided to earn some money rather than do the OE thing and learnt in the sawmill what I didn't want in a job…

"I had friends who studied at Otago University so I started a history degree then switched to classics and was halfway through that when I discovered law…"

photo of Joseph Morris 
 "[I] learnt in the sawmill what I didn't want in a job..."

With only two lawyers in Hokitika, Joseph started in his new role in mid-January, commuting "over the hill" to Christchurch for the first month and a half until finding a house and being joined in March by his wife Michelle and son Micah (3) and daughter Sophie (1).

"One of the attractions of coming to Hokitika is that Michelle could be a mum … but she had been nurse in the emergency department in Christchurch so Greymouth hospital got in touch and perhaps she will do some work for them…

"I have no Coast connections but Parry Field partner Tim Rankin is a Coaster who always dreamed of opening an office here and the firm has a lot of connections here…"

The first lawyer in the family, Joseph's dad works at New Plymouth City Council, his mum is a high school teacher aide and his brothers and sisters include a draughtsman, designer and teacher.

A keen spearfisherman and surfer, Joseph is looking forward to trying out West Coast surf beaches – "not many people surf here so it is not so crowded."

After a lot of spearfishing at Kaikoura and Akaroa Heads he suspects local opportunities may be limited.

"We love camping holidays … Each year we go to Kaiteriteri and stay in the campsite with family … all the kids can play with cousins and you get a good holiday…

"We recently stayed in a caravan at Woodend Beach near Christchurch … We had only ever tented until then but we borrowed the parents-in-law's caravan and it's going to be hard to go back to tent … Caravans are warmer, there's a wee fridge and the kids love them…

"I can't say I've done much reading in the last few years but have always liked CS Lewis and prefer fiction to non-fiction, but also like biographies such as Nelson Mandela and Christian missionary Derek Prince … not sports people…

"I'm a fan of the Graham Norton Show on television and liked Castle … Everyone's going on about Suits but I have yet to see it … I like David Attenborough, science fiction and TV on Demand…

"I grew up playing the piano but haven't touched that for a while … I was into classic rock such as Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Police, Dire Straits and Pink Floyd but I'm now listening to Christian music including Australian-based Christian worship bands Planetshakers and Hillsong United…

"I would quite like to be a pilot or a professional surfer, but maybe getting a bit old for a surfing career…

"I applied to the air force when I left high school but failed calculus so that was not meant to be…

"I go through phases … flying down to Dunedin I remember thinking pilots are glorified bus drivers but then I still think it would be fun to fly a plane … In the air force you have a mission and do stuff … perhaps I would go for that again … But maybe I'll be too old…

"I'd like to have CS Lewis round for dinner and Jesus Christ can probably muster a few probing questions … You need someone to stir the pot – I thought about Donald Trump but want someone more intelligent than him…

"That Darwinist dude (ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins) would be interesting…

"My car??? Everyone drives utes over here but my 1991 Nissan Bluebird still gets us over the hill…

 "And the weather here is not bad, but don't tell anyone or they will all start coming over…"

Jock Anderson has been writing and commenting on New Zealand lawyers and New Zealand's courts for most of his career in journalism. Contact Jock at jockanderson123@gmail.com.



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Last updated on the 5th May 2016