New Zealand Law Society - Marathon challenge for Englishman to become a Kiwi

Marathon challenge for Englishman to become a Kiwi

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Tim Jones
Tim Jones

Stepping down after 37 years with Glaister Ennor in Auckland – 35 of them as partner – may give marathon-running Englishman Tim Jones time for a challenge he hasn’t yet got round to – becoming a naturalised Kiwi.

Born in Bristol of a globe-trotting family, Tim - the Auckland vice president of the New Zealand Law Society - came to university in New Zealand in 1972 with a mate from Fiji and is still on his British passport.

“My wife Karen, a law librarian who is of staunch Northland farming stock, has me on about it all the time. I just haven’t got round to citizenship yet but given time I will,” says Tim, who since making New Zealand home has been joined by his whole family, including his parents, two brothers and their families. “We see ourselves as Kiwis.”

Timothy Alexander (Tim) Jones
Bristol, England
Entry to law
Graduated LLB from Auckland University in 1975. Admitted in 1975.
Retiring from long-time partnership at Glaister Ennor to practise as a barrister.
Speciality area
Property law.

He will continue to practice as a barrister in his specialty area of property law. Glaister Ennor will maintain a close relationship with Tim and instruct him on specialist property law matters as required.

With his father working as an agriculture economist for the British Government, and his mother a stenographer, the family traipsed around the world, to Africa, including Uganda and Kenya, and Fiji, on government business.

His family arrived in Uganda when he was two and he later went to school in Kenya from age seven to nine. “I have fond memories of schooling in Kenya, It was very much a colonial type environment where people went to the club for a drink.

“Fiji wasn’t too much different to that in the early days.

“We were in Uganda when independence (1962) came along and my parents got out of there just before Idi Amin took over (1971). It was an interesting country to live in.”

The accidental lawyer

Back in England, Tim’s attraction to law was accidental “as these things often are”.

“I was doing A levels at school in England and wasn’t any good at the sciences but okay in geography, history and constitutional law, which we studied for A levels. I did quite well in that and thought law might be appropriate step in the next direction.

“I applied for universities in England and got accepted for a couple but my A levels didn’t come up to the levels they wanted. So I looked to the southern hemisphere and was accepted at two places in New Zealand and two in Australia.

“But because of my best friend from Fiji coming here to Auckland, and neither of us knowing anyone here I thought it would be good to come to Auckland.

“It’s probably appropriate that I never ended up at university in England because at that stage I was in England with my two brothers at school but other than that there weren’t many relations around and my parents were back in Fiji.”

After a gap year in England, Tim came to Auckland with his friend who was doing accounting. “We decided to go together, to a city we didn’t know and didn’t know anyone. It was a matter of ‘let’s go and try it out’.”

He started at Simpson Grierson as a search clerk in 1975, then worked as a law clerk for the redoubtable Jock Irvine for five years. “In those days you worked alongside a partner for 12 months as a trial to see if you were any good, then you worked up from there to get your own office.

“They gave me the opportunity to work with Barry Stafford in their New Lynn branch for a couple of years, before returning to the city for a year.” Tim seized an offer to join Glaister Ennor in early 1980 and finishes with the firm on 31 March.

Tim and Karen – who met at law school - married in 1975, the year he graduated, was admitted and started his first law job.

Karen has been librarian at the Auckland High Court for the Auckland District Law Society and is contracted to the High Court library. “She has been in and out of law libraries her whole career.”

They have a son Angus, 32, who is at university “late in life” in his fourth year of physics, maths and philosophy, and a daughter Carrie, 29, who works for the BBC in London on promotions and event organisation for shows such as those featuring David Attenborough and Louis Theroux, and the new Top Gear.

The couple’s youngest son Roderick – “a very brave young man” - died of cancer in 2008, aged 14.

“Carrie was out the other day at the Top Gear track organising journalists. She says new host Matt LeBlanc is charming and very able so we’ll wait and see how it all turns out.”

The only lawyer in his family, and none in Karen’s farming family from Waipu Cove on Bream Bay, Tim says “I don’t think my children were ever going to go into law so it will start and finish with me, I’m afraid.”

The running man  

“I’m a bit of a fitness freak – for me fitness has always been front and centre - and was a marathon runner until I had a hip replacement in 2011.”

He took up running after giving up football in 1985 and joined the Auckland YMCA Marathon Club.

He has done more than 25 marathons, including the New York marathon in 1987 with the YMCA club. “What a very slow and ponderous event that was but it was brilliant to run through New York. My fastest time is 2hrs 56min, so I’m quite happy to get under three hours - that’s always a mark people aim for.”

A former president of the YMCA Marathon Club for a couple of years, in the early 1990s he was, for several years, a director and shareholder in the Auckland Marathon.

“The YMCA Marathon Club picked it up in early 90s as a straightforward waterfront marathon, before they could go over the Harbour Bridge. After a couple of years a couple of us bought the rights off the YMCA club and ran it ourselves.

“We ran it for a few years then got permission to run over the bridge as it is now. But when the Auckland council got more insistent on traffic management, we decided we had had enough of that and sold it on to another group.

“During that time I never ran the Auckland Marathon, but have run it a couple of times since.”

Playing rugby first at university, Tim moved to football, playing left-back in an overlapping position, quick on the turn and playing for an East Coast Bays team.

“But I tended to get kicked a bit at soccer and that curtailed my running so eventually I decided to give up soccer and continue with the running.”

These days much of Tim’s fitness is done offshore in a 6.5 metre runabout he shares with a colleague at Bream Bay, water skiing and fishing for snapper, trevally, kowhai, “and, if lucky, kingfish”.

“We have an annual Roderick Jones fishing competition at Easter, among family and friends, to remember him because Roderick loved his fishing.

“Karen and I have done a fair bit of travelling - she speaks French so we go to France and to see Carrie in London. We did a trip to Portugal and a cruise on the Rhine last November which was an experiment doing a river cruise, so we will probably do that again.

“We have been to France a couple of times with the kids, stayed in rented houses, and enjoyed it. And we did a circuit round family in the south of England, Ireland and Scotland in 2016.

“I would like to go back to Africa, having not been there since a child, and see some game parks.”

Action over drama

“I’m not musical, I played the acoustic guitar at school but gave it up. In those days I was more focused on rugby, soccer, cricket or hockey. Angus is very musical, he went to St Kentigern and plays the bagpipes, which is a physical activity as well as musical. And he plays the guitar in a couple of bands - heavy metal stuff.

“I like REM, Elton John, maybe Mumford and Sons. I’m a fan of Ed Sheeran and have been to one of his concerts.

“Since I found a Kindle I read a lot more, because my eyes aren’t great. Kindle is a marvellous instrument and I have many, many books in it. I’m keen on science fiction and like Tolkein - that sort of genre. I’ve read all of the Game of Thrones. And Adrian McKinty’s Sean Duffy detective stories set in 1980s Belfast.

“At the movies I much prefer action. We recently saw The Darkest Hour. Really enjoyed it and didn’t look at my watch once during the whole thing, a sign I was enjoying it. And Dunkirk.

“I would rather have a bit of action than deep movies. I liked Liam Neason in Taken. On TV I watch sport and documentaries. I’m into the Netflix series Designated Survivor about American politics. And enjoyed Australian legal series Rake - part comedy and part serious.

“I’m now driving a VW Tiguan R-Line. I had a VW Amarok before when we were building a house and it was a good vehicle for carting stuff but too big for Auckland.

“We don’t have pets at the moment since we sold our big Epsom property in 2013, but have always had dogs. Mac the border collie passed away and we have not replaced him. We haven’t replaced dogs and cats as they went but given time we will get a dog up here at Bream Bay - if nothing else to keep away the rabbits. I have always been a dog person, with springer spaniels then a border collie.

“Presidents John Kennedy and Barack Obama would top my dinner guests list. I admired Kennedy greatly from a distance and would like to talk to him about how his politics developed. I admired him as an orator. Kennedy led from the front and I admire those guys who put themselves out there and make a difference in the world.

“I’m a pretty simple eater and eat most things so we would have snapper, new potatoes, broccoli, all New Zealand produce. And one of Karen’s wonderful desserts - plum tarts with plum sauce and cream. With a nice glass of Chardonnay.”

World leader

Tim has good memories of his involvement with the amendment and replacement of the Unit Titles Act, which he started work on in 2003 with a senior associate and Auckland Regional Authority in writing a case for the revision of the Act.

He and John Greenwood, now a consultant at Greenwood Roche, were involved with the Law Society in various working parties and seminars when the new Act came into force.

“I felt it was a very important piece of legislation because of the large number of apartments being built in New Zealand, where previously it had been a bit of a low horizon sort of thing and didn’t matter too much.

“I’m still not happy with the legislation but at least we have something that is a bit more fit for purpose.”

He was also involved from its earliest days of digitisation of the Land Registry with Landonline - the transaction centre for property professionals and local councils to carry out land dealings efficiently and securely on line which was introduced in 2003/2004.

“It was a world leader in that regard. In terms of land registry it was ground-breaking at the time. That was something I did voluntarily for the Law Society. My career has been pepper-potted over the years with things I’ve done for the Law Society and these sit on the Board.

“I haven’t thought what alternative career I might have followed but it would probably have been in the charity space. If I was younger I think I would do something to help out in a far country.

“Having done a bit of living overseas and if I have time in my retirement I can see myself doing something like that.

“Karen and I support the Starship Foundation and provide a sponsorship for one part of the Foundation called Guardian Angels, people who leave a gift for Starship in their wills. We enjoy doing that.

“So rather than retire completely, I am going to keep my barrister certificate and do advisor work and stuff like that as long as work comes in the door.

“I’m still fit and healthy and still enjoy doing this and will continue on doing it in chambers as long as I can.

“Knowledge and experience is valued especially in an area like law where you don’t have to be physically fit and healthy to provide value.”

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