New Zealand Law Society - Tailing Tiger on golf’s travelling circus

Tailing Tiger on golf’s travelling circus

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Sam Buchan
Sam Buchan

A who-you-know opportunity stalled Dunedin-born Sam Buchan’s legal career as he followed the prestigious PGA golf tournaments from the inside.

Following internships at Mallesons Stephen Jaques in Hong Kong and Deloittes in Dunedin, Sam’s university buddy Ben Taylor came up with an idea.

Ben’s father Ian Taylor – who was named New Zealand Innovator of the Year in 2019 - founded Dunedin computer graphics company Animation Research and multimedia production company Taylormade Productions. His companies’ work has included 3D animated graphics for sports coverage around the world including the America’s Cup, formula one motor racing and major golf tournaments.

Samuel Mark (Sam) Buchan
Entry to law
Graduated LLB (Honours) and BCom (majoring in accounting) from Otago University in 2012. Admitted in Queenstown in 2015.
Associate at Anderson Lloyd, Dunedin.
Speciality area

“We got the opportunity to join up and travel with the PGA tournament. I didn’t practise law for my first two-and-a-half years, I went and travelled with PGA golf.

“I was very lucky, it was a who-you-know job. I worked in a team of three with Ben doing 3D graphics for golf broadcasts including the Ryder Cup, the US Open and the British Open.

“It was a travelling circus. We were lucky to meet some of the players.” In the photo, Tiger Woods is in the background.

Sam still does contract work for Animation Research when needed, usually one or two events each year and his firm allows him time off for certain events.

“This year I am pencilled in for the World Golf Championships – HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

“When I finished on the PGA I was not ready to come home so I moved to Queenstown for two-and-a-half years, working for Graeme Todd (the principal of Todd and Walker), and was the first person admitted to the Bar in Queenstown Court.”

Getting Elton to Dunedin

Sam joined Anderson Lloyd in 2016, and was recently made an associate in the firm’s corporate/commercial team. One of his main clients is Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML), a council-controlled organisation, which operates venues such as the Dunedin Town Hall and Forsyth Barr Stadium.

“Basically, I produce and negotiate contracts on behalf of DVML – such as for the recent Elton John concert at the stadium. I’m not talking to Elton John myself - the artists are one party removed. We negotiate with the promoter, they talk to Elton John’s people, the promoter finds the venue and does the deal and we provide the stadium or town hall.”

Sam’s father Glenn “Buck” Buchan, an immunologist of national and international standing, was associate professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at Otago University, who died from cancer at 51, when Sam was 18. “Dad was a good southern boy from Kaka Point.”

“I spent a lot of my time growing up around the university campus. My mother, Kerry, is from up north and Mum and Dad met at university. She is an events manager and has just finished running the 150th anniversary of Otago University – three years of full-time work.

“My three brothers are all in Dunedin - the youngest Jack is starting first year at university, Charles is chief operations officer of a catering company and the oldest Thomas is a property manager.

“I flew the coop and was away for five years.”

He was keen to get into the corporate commercial area and into the property market.

“I had the opportunity to buy property in Dunedin. My intention was to shoot the gap overseas again, but I like the team at work, there have been good opportunities and doors open for me, l like the work and other investment opportunities and the lifestyle is great.

“So, for now, I have locked in and hunkered down.”

A keen sportsman at Kavanagh College he played in the first 15, first 11 cricket, and senior basketball through school, carrying on basketball and cricket at university and getting involved in rugby management.

After following the golf tours Sam got into golf and plays at the Otago Golf Club’s Balmacewen course, including 6.30 on Thursday mornings during summer.

“One of my big hobbies is hot yoga and hot pilates. Yoga done under extreme temperatures, which I do a couple of times a week. I also work out five times a week, along with cricket and basketball.

“I like hanging out with friends and family when I can. Investment is a hobby – I’ve got three properties and I’m learning about the share market.

“I have been lucky to get in at the right time with Dunedin house prices rising. With a couple of business partners we have just bought a big plot of land in Tennyson Street, near Otago Girls’ High School, which I think we will keep for a while.”

Working for disadvantaged adults

Keen on charity work, Sam ran a major event for Dunedin’s community learning centre for disadvantaged adults three years ago, raising $32,000. Since then he has run smaller fund-raising events for them, such as quiz nights.

An ambassador for the Child Cancer Foundation, he rounds up and co-ordinates teams for their annual collection. He is also involved with Camp Quality and the Edmund Rice Camp, run by Kavanagh College, for disadvantaged youth.

“I don’t play any instruments (Sam once flatted with a member of Dunedin band Six60) and like hip hop. My favourites include Rufus (American funk band), J Cole, Mac Miller (both American rappers) and Kings of Leon.

Sam Buchan
Sam Buchan

“I read a lot of books on investing, Warren Buffet stuff, and books on well-being, spirituality and self-help. A favourite is Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now.

“I don’t go to the movies or watch much TV.

“I drive a green 2000 Toyota Corolla hatchback, which is the butt of jokes with tradie mates who have utes. I have a friend with a place at Pukerau, Southland, where we go duck and rabbit shooting.

“My dinner guests would be comedian Ricky Gervais, Liverpool football coach Jurgen Klopp, US sports podcaster Bill Simmons and Bill Gates. I like cooking so I would make tom yum prawn noodle soup.

“I’m a bit of a weekend warrior so we would either have Emersons craft beer if it was a weekend dinner, or kambucha if on a week day.

“I do intermittent fasting. Once every two weeks I do a 24-hour fast. I am dedicated to my eating and my routines during the week but as soon as it’s a wedding, like one I went to in Sydney recently, I happily eat and drink what I please.”

Career option was an open book

The only lawyer in his family, Sam gravitated toward law after he got a Deloitte scholarship to study accounting.

“I wanted something to complement that and leave my doors open. I went in a bit blind, but liked the cross between history and English and I could bring a bit of commercial into it with commercial orientated papers.

“When I went away for the golf I didn’t have anything locked in like accounting or law to come back to.

“I did some thinking while I was away and looking at chartered accountant courses and profs course, I felt I could probably do a bit better at law. I always think ‘go where your strengths lie’.

“I thought law would provide a good opportunity to learn a lot, to continually be challenged in terms of the intellect - which is something I sometimes don’t like, but know I need.

“I kind of fell into law I suppose. It was a matter of setting myself up to be able to do what I wanted to do in terms of a career path.

“It’s always huge for me to be inspired, whether it be from an educational or professional standpoint or from a humanitarian standpoint.

“I love doing the Dunedin Venues Management work. The biggest acquisition I did was the Mt Difficulty transaction, it was an exciting, amazing and memorable experience for me.”

US businessman Bill Foley’s company was given Overseas Investment Office approval in 2018 to buy the Bannockburn winery for $52 million.

“It’s the people first and foremost, then the variety and complexity of some of the work you get to do.

“I still think about an alternative career today and kind of wish I had gone to med school.

“I like being a lawyer and I’m lucky but I don’t think I could put myself through another nine years of education.

“My partner Chelsea is a hospice nurse. I think it’s a very admirable profession. Probably oncology would appeal. In the hospice or oncology area.”

Over a long career in journalism Jock Anderson has spent many hours in courtrooms and talking to members of the legal profession. If you think you would make for an interesting profile, or know of someone who would, contact Jock at

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