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Gerard Justin Toebes MNZM, 1954 - 2018

By Craig Stephen

Wellington lawyer Justin Toebes has died following a long battle with motor neuron disease.

In an obituary on its website, the Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association of New Zealand (RITANZ) says Mr Toebes was a Life Member and Fellow, who specialised in insolvency law, credit recoveries, re-structuring and re-financing, and banking law.

Mr Toebes, who until 2016 had his own law firm in the capital, was also remembered for his contribution to basketball, for which he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Justin Toebes receiving his RITANZ Life Membership from Derek Williams of BNZ
Justion Toebes receiving his RITANZ Life Membership
from Derek Williams of BNZ

RITANZ says Mr Toebes was a practising lawyer from 1978, initially in Taranaki, before moving to Wellington to join Rainey Collins. In 1989 he became a partner at Buddle Findlay, where he remained for more than 20 years. During that time he was a Board member, and the national head of the firm’s litigation and insolvency law practices. In 2010, he set up his own law firm, JT Law.

“Throughout his legal career, Justin …. was a trusted adviser to nearly all of the trading banks, as well as New Zealand’s leading insolvency practitioners,” RITANZ says.

“Justin had a unique personal style, founded upon a tremendous capacity for hard work and a ferocious intellect. At the same time, he was a generous colleague and mentor, who was always willing to share his knowledge and expertise in the world of insolvency with others around him. The list of people and organisations who have benefited from Justin’s generosity of spirit and wise counsel is vast, and he leaves behind a lasting professional legacy.”

In its tribute, Basketball New Zealand says Mr Toebes “commitment to the game, particularly in Wellington, has brought so much value and opportunity”. 

The organisation says Justin Toebes began playing basketball at Wellington College, going on to play in the former Central League and for the Wellington Basketball Association.

Turning his hand to administration, Mr Toebes was elected onto the Wellington Basketball Association Executive in 1994 and the following year was elected President, a position he held for 10 years.

“During that time he helped stabilise the Association during a period of potential insolvency,” Basketball NZ says.

“Justin constantly endeavoured to see children in Wellington had the opportunity to play basketball regardless of where they lived or how much money they had. He assisted numerous young players who made New Zealand representative teams, paying for their travel to ensure they did not miss out on any opportunities due to their financial circumstances. He has paid international airfares for players who received scholarships in the United States.”

Mr Toebes became Vice President of Basketball New Zealand from 2003 to 2006, and was on the International Basketball Federation Oceania Management Committee during the same period.

Basketball New Zealand also says Justin Toebes was a member of the National Basketball League (NBL) Board for many years, up to this year and treasurer and chairman of the Wellington Saints.

He was awarded the Basketball New Zealand Sir Lance Cross Memorial Award, which honours exceptional service to basketball and was inducted into the Basketball New Zealand Hall of Fame in May.

Justin Toebes died on 15 August 2018. He is survived by his partner Ayliffe, and children Finn and Olivia.

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Last updated on the 24th August 2018