By Jock Anderson
- Stewart Lloyd (Stewart) Germann
- Entry to law
- Graduated BCom/LLB Auckland University 1974. Admitted 1975.
- Principal of Stewart Germann Law, Auckland.
- Speciality area
- Franchising law. Notary Public.
Early morning passers-by are used to the theme music from Richard Curtis’ British comedy romp Love Actually booming from franchise lawyer Stewart Germann’s central Auckland chambers.
They should be - the 63-year old film fan plays it regularly and loudly from seven in the morning until the rest of the firm turns up at 8:30.
A leading New Zealand franchise lawyer and an avid movie buff, Stewart is hooked on James Bond, rating Sean Connery the best Bond ever (with Daniel Craig a close second) and From Russia With Love (the second Bond/Connery film) the best of a great series.
“It is the best Bond film. Action. Romance. It opened with a chess game – which I love – and great gadgets for 1963…”
He’s a particular fan of Robert Shaw, who played the chief executioner of S.P.E.C.T.R.E, and whose preferred method of despatch was strangling by a wire concealed in his wrist watch.
Mr Shaw died prematurely in Ireland of a heart attack at 51.
“There’s something about Sean Connery – a great voice, body and actor – the perfect Bond.”
Stewart’s three best films are The Guns of Navarone – “a true story, fantastic action, gripping” – From Russia With Love and The Shawshank Redemption – “a fantastic story, very moving and clever” – with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Blood Diamond a close fourth.
His favourite actors are Connery, DiCaprio – “amazing actor who can play so many roles and fantastic in Blood Diamond” – and Meryl Streep – “amazing actress, has had more Academy Award nominations than anyone else and her acting in Sophie’s Choice was so moving.”
He also rates Clint Eastwood as both actor and director.
Close behind James Bond for action realism is Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne series.
“At Auckland Grammar I kept score of every film I saw in a notebook– I saw 55 movies in one year. My wife Janice initially thought I was a bit odd over films.”
When Auckland’s Mercury Theatre ran into financial problems – “it was insolvent” – as a result of lavish and extravagant productions, Stewart moved in on behalf of its trust board with security guards to close it down – just as the public were filing in for a 6 o’clock performance of The Wind in the Willows.
Production crew and actors, including the well-known actor/director Simon Prast – himself an LLB graduate – could not believe what was happening.
“Everyone was getting made up. I told them there would be no performance, the company couldn’t pay them and security locked the doors just as people started to come in.”
“It made the front page of the Herald and wasn’t popular, but saved people from not getting paid for weeks…”
In 1994, the late Brian Salmon – New Plymouth-based founder of the $2 Shop and pioneer of retail franchising – pulled up outside Stewart’s chambers in his Rolls Royce and gave him his legal work.
Copiers of the $2 Shop concept were quickly taken to court and shut down.
“In one Auckland High Court injunction the judge said he loved the $2 Shop and always went there when looking for a present for his mother-in-law, saying that only the previous week he bought her a fly swat for her birthday...”
During a four year stint at Simpson Grierson, Stewart convened the social club, organising regular tennis evenings for around 100 players who chomped through $300 of post-match Kentucky Fried Chicken.
With his eldest daughter (BCom/LLB) carving a non-lawyer financial career in Australia, twin sons who are doctors and his youngest studying clinical psychology, Stewart – an only son whose Dad died when he was nine - describes himself as a family person who, despite his professional responsibilities, puts his family first wherever possible.
His many professional achievements include chairmanship of Cognition Education, chairman of the Franchise Association of New Zealand, president of the Stroke Foundation northern region, governor of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Notaries, chairman of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council and president-elect of the Rotary Club of Auckland, plus a host of other professional appointments.
He has a string of mainly franchise law awards to his name, culminating this November with his life membership of the Franchise Association of New Zealand for his contribution to franchising over 30 years – the first lawyer to be so honoured.
Initially a charitable trust, Cognition Education has worked for many years to reform education in the Middle East, winning contracts in places such as Qatar to improve teaching standards, mainly in English, science and maths.
A world traveller, Stewart once spent at day at former Nazi death camp Auschwitz.
“I saw photographs of experiments Josef Mengele (known as the Angel of Death) did on three sets of twin boys. They were just flesh and bone and obviously dying. I couldn’t help thinking of my own twin sons.”
Stewart is looking forward to Dubai in 2020, when the biggest trade fair the world has ever seen will be staged between October 2020 and April 2021.
“The New Zealand franchise industry will be there…”
Jock Anderson has been writing and commenting on New Zealand lawyers and New Zealand's courts for several decades. He also writes the weekly Caseload column for the New Zealand Herald. Contact Jock at email@example.com.