New Zealand Law Society - Pixie loving lawyer warms to new home's environmental challenge

Pixie loving lawyer warms to new home's environmental challenge

Pixie loving lawyer warms to new home's environmental challenge
Pip Newland

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As the first person in her family to go to university, Lumsden-born horsewoman and occasional trumpet player Pip Newland says becoming a lawyer was "something to be done, so I wanted to give it a crack…"

"I was always better at English than maths and it seemed to flow from there," says Pip, who recently joined Christchurch firm Wynn Williams as an associate.

With no other lawyers in the family, she was the first.

Philippa Jean (Pip) Newland
Entry to law
Graduated LLB, BComm (major in marketing, minor in management) from Otago University in 2002. Admitted 2003. 
Associate at Wynn Williams, Christchurch. 
Speciality area
Resource management and environmental law, with particular interest in freshwater.

At Canterbury University she worked in a bar, then drove south for three days a week working pupils at a show jumping stables.

"My parents were pleased when I stopped with the horses…"

Have previously worked at rural law specialists Tavendale and Partners and working from home with children aged three years and 15 months, Pip is enjoying her part-time role at Wynn Williams, especially as her chartered civil engineer husband works from home.

"I do three days a week in the office, with Monday and Friday at home doing mum stuff … It is a great work life balance and I am really lucky how it has worked out…

"With a family, if you stop work completely it is hard to get back into work again, so it is better if you are able to keep working from home or part time…"

Specialising in environmental law and plan changes around freshwater and farming issues, Pip says it is a dynamic area of law to be in at the moment, especially in Canterbury and the wider South Island.

With limited spare time, Pip enjoys sport, particularly triathlon, and trains up for at least one big event a year.

Last year it was the 99kms Christchurch to Akaroa L'Race cycle race – "a long painful journey but a beautiful ride…"

Much of her free time is dedicated to gardening and landscaping the family's new home in the Port Hills, planting out the natural slope mainly with natives to keep the fine soil in place and planning to be as self sufficient as possible with veges.

Having a warm house built of MagRoc – a new magnesium oxide structural insulated panel system - and concrete, has turned out to be a bonus for propagating plants indoors.

Pip extends the keeping warm theme into spinning, knitting and sewing – mainly make clothing for the children - "while they are too small to complain…"

"I have a few fleeces lined up from my sister's lifestyle block, as well as some chocolate coloured Pitt Island merinos but at the moment my spinning wheel is in pieces because my 15 month old has been at it."

After a two year spell with Burges Salmon rural law practice in Bristol, during which Pip and her husband did many weekend trips, the couple did an 8,000kms road trip through Europe – including World War I battlefields – before coming home.

"Burges Salmon was a specialist agricultural-related practice, dealing with a lot of older large landed estates … That meant a lot of unregistered titles and a lot of fascinating trawling through velum and pig skin records from the 17th century piecing together titles…"

Away from legal reading Pip enjoys the fantasy work of the late American author Robert Jordan and UK crime writer Kate Atkinson - "I like her Life After Life and A God In Ruins and I also like to work through The Guardian's Not the Booker Prize list of books."

A classical pianist and jazz trumpeter – "in the school orchestra and a school jazz band" – Pip recently played the Last Post at an elderly uncle's funeral and played with a band at Burges Salmon while she was there.

Her musical taste is a mixture of British electronic music band Chemical Brothers, US band Pixies' - who play what is described as a mix of "pyschedelia, noise pop, hard rock, surf pop and surf rock" - and Jamie XX, an English music producer, remix artist and DJ and member of London-based band The XX.

"On TV we like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Homeland and the new series Texas Rising … I'm working my way through The Sopranos for the first time and have a guilty addiction to Masterchef…

 "I enjoy cooking - Italian is my favourite - baking bread and fiddling around in the kitchen…

"If I wasn't a lawyer I would probably be a project manager, but if you asked me when I was younger it would have been something to do with farming or the 'black hole' of horses…"

Jock Anderson has been writing and commenting on New Zealand lawyers and New Zealand's courts for most of his career in journalism. Contact Jock at

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