Widely acknowledged as the ‘go-to guy’ for companies and charities legislation, senior solicitor Peter Weir retired in December after nearly 25 years with the Companies Office.
“Some people earn the label ‘indispensable’, but few deserve it quite as much as Peter,” says National Manager, Business Registries, Lawrence Wells.
“Over the years his expertise, experience and enthusiasm have added huge value to the service and support we’ve been able to provide to the New Zealand professional community,” he says.
A life in law for Peter began at Auckland University, as a prize-winning student. After 18 months working in litigation in Auckland, he completed his master’s degree at the London School of Economics, before moving to Rotorua, then back to Auckland and into commercial law.
Peter joined the Companies Office in 1993 as its sole solicitor, and his talents were immediately put to good use implementing the new Companies Act. So, what attracted him to the role?
“I was studying again but keen to return to practice, and particularly into company law. I knew the Companies Act was about to be introduced, so contacted the Companies Office to see if a position was available,” he says.
“I was soon totally absorbed in dealing with the new law; explaining its workings to staff and callers, helping them to understand the new documents and procedures.”
Since then Peter has contributed significantly to the transition from a manual to an online self-service model, especially in the area of amalgamations.
“The Companies Office is at the hub of so much that goes on in the commercial world. It’s very progressive – and I’ve always enjoyed the interaction with fellow solicitors and other professionals, discussing the many issues that arise.”
A well-known figure in professional circles, Peter has regularly presented seminars for ADLS Incorporated, and to accounting and community groups, on subjects ranging from company constitutions and directors’ duties to incorporated societies.
The biggest challenges at the Companies Office, he says, have come when there’s been a high volume of often difficult work to review, with fixed deadlines to meet.
“The people at the Companies Office are fantastic – always busy and energetic – and we’ve achieved some great results together.”
Those who know Peter well invariably describe him as “meticulous”, “modest” and “a true gentleman”.
“He’s hugely respected for his knowledge, professionalism and generosity. He will be sorely missed,” says one former colleague.
Peter will now have more time to pursue his interests outside of the office, which include chess (he is a former member of the New Zealand chess team) and tennis.
Stuart Read firstname.lastname@example.org is Content Specialist at the New Zealand Companies Office.