Former London motorbike despatch rider Paul Tyler – who made a living delivering packages to Buckingham Palace, the Old Bailey and assorted stars including Cilla Black and comedian Jimmy Tarbuck – went fishing for fun between law jobs before setting up shop in Timaru.
“I came to New Zealand in 1989 – attracted by a Kiwi woman from Cambridge,” says Paul, who, with fellow practitioner Pauline-Jean Luyten, recently took over Aoraki Legal from long-standing Timaru practitioner Mark Clark.
Mark, who “is 71 and supposed to be slowing down,” remains a consultant to the firm. A previous partner, Russell List, died in 2016.
- Paul Charles (Paul) Tyler
- Brentford, West London
- Entry to law
- Graduated LLB from Waikato University in 2005. Admitted in 2006.
- Director at Aoraki Legal, Timaru.
- Speciality area
- Property and elder law, trusts, relationship property, estates and commercial.
Paul was a despatch rider in London when he met his first wife. “There are very few places I haven’t delivered stuff to, including deliveries for the BBC and ITV - some of which included jokes written by other people and delivered to comedians.”
Born in Brentford, in West London, Paul’s Dad – from London - was a metal miller making parts for ship’s engines, and his Mum – from Newcastle - did lots of different jobs. “I have a brother who manages the largest amateur football club in England and a sister who is a health care worker.”
“Brentford is famous for two things – Brentford Nylons - and they went bust, and Brentford football club, and they got demoted.
His parents are retired and live in Peacehaven on the East Sussex coast of England. Peacehaven was originally formed for retiring World War 1 veterans in order for them to escape and recover from the effects of the war, hence the name.
“I have had a myriad of jobs. I went to a grammar school but before I left school I was a trainee butcher. After I left school I got a job at the head office of Lloyds Bank, in the accounts department.
“I had five figures to balance each day. I added them up and if it came to the figure at the bottom, which is always about £400 million, then I would tick the box and give it to my supervisor.
“If it didn’t add up I just gave it to my supervisor anyway. That was my job – very boring. But there was always a big scramble if something was wrong with some of the cheques.”
Drycleaning and fishing
After a couple of years with a building company working in subcontracting and buying, Paul got a management position with TNT Couriers before having a drycleaning business.
“At 25 I met a girl from Cambridge and decided to come over here. Son Jim is now a qualified builder and he’s about to climb Kilimanjaro. I didn’t even know he was a mountaineer. Daughter Chantelle is finishing her third year of law and has got an internship at McCaw Lewis in Hamilton.”
After his second marriage didn’t work out, and with no other lawyers in the family, Paul wasn’t sure what he wanted to do.
“My first wife said ‘why don’t you go and do a law degree’, because I always said I wanted to. I thought, bugger it, I will.”
The first in his family to go to university, Paul enrolled at Waikato for four years then started work in Whakatane where he stayed for couple of years, before quitting with thoughts of moving to Auckland.
“Then the global financial crisis hit and everyone was being laid off. It was really bad timing to hand in my notice.
“I went sea fishing for 16 months in Whakatane, enjoying myself after quitting my job. I travelled about the country a bit enjoying life and seeing a few things.
“I came to Timaru on April 19, 2010 because there was a job offer with Quentin Hix. I thought to myself ‘why would I go to Timaru’, then thought ‘why wouldn’t I’? I had only been to the South Island once, three days in Christchurch.
“There was no formal interview, it was just done over the phone. I rented a place to live without seeing it and stayed with that firm nearly five years – two of them as a director.”
He moved to Aoraki Legal about three years ago with a view to becoming partner, and was followed by his colleague Pauline-Jean Luyten.
Paul and his partner Vicki McConnochie live in what he describes as a big, rambling house next to Timaru’s Aigantighe Art Gallery, just a few minutes from his office.
“One of the best things about living in Timaru is house prices. Vicki and I like socialising, mixing and mingling. I’m a member of the South Canterbury Club, and I like going to work.
“Unfortunately, we can’t get experienced lawyers here, and keeping those who are is hard. Lawyers come to Timaru for two years, do their OE and then get grabbed to work elsewhere.
“There has been a lot of movement between local law firms in the last year, which has left some firms short of staff, but we are about right at the moment. We were lucky to have Emma Woodings join us.”
Thailand and Twizel
“I love watching the All Blacks and motor sports like Formula One. I used to play golf a lot and got down to a single figure handicap but had to play four times a week to get there and didn’t have the time to keep it up.
“I drive a 22-year-old Mercedes, C Class, which I have had for 12 years and it just keeps going.
“My favourite overseas spot is Koh Samui in Thailand. We like blobbing out there. And Dubai and Paris. I covered a lot of Europe when I lived in the UK.
“Twizel is my favourite holiday spot in New Zealand, but don’t tell anyone about it. Vicki has a house there. And we love the Ministry of Works and other bars.
“Christmas weather there is superb – it’s a micro-climate. Half of Timaru seems to go to Twizel and a lot of our friends have places there.
“Unfortunately, I still haven’t caught a fish there. I used to sea fish all the time in the North Island, and it is so easy to catch fish at sea, but I don’t seem to have mastered the technique here. We are going to Twizel at Labour Weekend, so I’ll be catching fish then.
“I played the violin very badly - Three Blind Mice - and I can do Greensleeves on the recorder and tap a triangle.”
A David Bowie fan, Paul “sort of” manages a local band called Should be Band. “I’m supposed to be their manager. I don’t get paid and get the blame for everything.”
“A fellow lawyer Norm Scott is the drummer, along with Kelvin Ayson, Grant Williams, the lead singer, and Simon Kemp. They never listen to anything I say and blame me because they haven’t got a van because they haven’t got any money. They’re a rock and roll band doing 70s to 90s stuff and play a few times a year.”
The group is due to celebrate its 10th anniversary at the South Canterbury Club on November 24.
“I’m also a fan of Blur, the biggest band along with Oasis in the 1990s. Parklife by Blur is always our band’s last song.
“I don’t get a chance to read much away from work but love watching films and have recently seen all three of The Godfather films. Godfather 3 is the best one. I hadn’t see that one before and I’m still confused, so need to see it again to get all the little nuances and who was friends with who.
“I love a good thriller, a good murder mystery and espionage. For my sins I also like The Block on telly. But I don’t watch Coronation Street, so that’s a plus.
“I love cooking programmes – Masterchef and Heston Blumenthal but I can’t cook anything he does. Vicki and I take cooking in turns.
“Curries are my speciality. I grow my own garlic and chillies and there’s always stuff in the garden - lettuces, peas, potatoes, cucumbers.
“I like gardening and have a 1500sqm section, next to the Aigantighe Art Gallery in Timaru, with a big greenhouse and there’s always something to eat growing in the garden.”
Dogs v cats
“I hate cats – they shit all over my lawn, dig up vegetables, claw at trees, kill the birds and put fur on our outside furniture. We don’t own a cat but a dozen wander across our property. I like dogs.
“Churchill and Thatcher would be my first choice of dinner guests, then after that Trump. I would make an extra hot curry for Mr Trump but would not waste my home brew on him.”
Did Paul mention home brew???
“I brew my own beer and stick to dark beer because I find it easier to brew. Mine is average and I like it.
“If I wasn’t a lawyer I’d like to be a pilot but I don’t like heights, which sort of limits things a bit. I always wanted to be a lawyer or an airline pilot. Lucky I wasn’t an airline pilot.
“It’s probably all right up in the air, but if I was driving a jumbo jet you are so far off the ground and I don’t like that. And I need my glasses on to see the instruments in front of me which means I can’t see properly everything else.
“My first time in court in Whakatane was memorable, to do a notice to fix and I needed an order. My boss was away and colleagues said it was too much for me. But I had to do it. Luckily, I had a nice judge, Louis Bidois.
“I don’t think lawyers should be dumped in the deep end on their own and I am careful in our practice not to do that.”
Over a long career in journalism Jock Anderson has spent many hours in courtrooms and talking to members of the legal profession. He can be contacted at email@example.com