By Sarah Hughes
David Munn, formerly a partner of Auckland firm Gaze Burt, has retired after 44 years with the firm. David holds the record for being the longest-standing partner in the firm’s 96 year history – a legacy of service that has inspired many.
David started his career working at a small desk in a dusty deeds room, with the firm Gaze Bond & Carden. Four years later, the firm became Gaze Bond Carden & Munn. As was common at the time, he practised in a wide range of areas, from commercial law to family and criminal defence work with significant time spent in court. In 1987, David was instrumental in merging the firm with Burt Moodie Gould & Francis, to create the firm now known as Gaze Burt.
David suffered some heavy setbacks during his career, including trust account theft by a fellow partner in the early 1990s and serious health scares. These served to heighten his awareness of what is valuable in life and deepen his commitment to his Christian faith. Throughout everything he remained a man of impeccable integrity and put others’ needs before his own.
David also put enormous effort and care into a number of not-for-profit organisations, including roles he highly valued with Manurewa Childrens’ Home, Baptist Savings, Leprosy Mission, FamilyLife and as Chairman of the Board of Birkenhead College.
During the last 30 years of his career, David rose to become one of the most highly-regarded franchise lawyers in New Zealand. He began practising franchise law when franchising was still in its infancy in New Zealand. He was attracted to the unique blend of legal, commercial and inter-personal relationship disciplines that franchising requires. He was one of the pioneers of New Zealand franchising, acting for many leading franchisors and connecting with leading experts across the world to ensure his expertise was always ahead of the curve in New Zealand. He shared his knowledge freely through Law Society seminars and mentored many younger lawyers who went on to forge successful careers in franchising and commercial law. David also served as honorary solicitor to the Franchise Association of New Zealand for many years.
David is highly regarded at Gaze Burt for his deep thought, strong work ethic and dedication to his colleagues and clients. He deeply cares about everyone he works with and works for. He never sought prestige or attention, but earned both.
David has been gradually easing back his practice for the past few years and finally retired to spend more time with his cherished wife Alison, children and grandchildren. He has joined the Board of Thinking Matters, a charity dedicated to helping Christians engage intelligently with contemporary societal issues. The franchise practice begun by David continues under current director Michael Bright and David will no doubt continue his relationship with Gaze Burt as a friend and support to the firm.
Sarah Hughes is Practice Manager of Gaze Burt.