Our History

We've been helping Northlanders to navigate the law for 75 years.

  • 1939

    Our firm had its beginnings at the time that World War Two started. That year Douglas “Bill” Thomson started his own law practice in Whangarei. Bill Thomson was a keen sportsman, interested in tennis, golf, bowls and horse racing. He was also prominent in local government and sports administration and served on the Whangarei Borough Council.

    Bill Thomson was appointed as solicitor to the Whangarei Borough Council in 1941. This was the start of a long-standing client relationship which has endured for over 70 years. The current Whangarei District Council continues to be one of our valued clients.

  • 1940s - 1955

    Justin "Dufty" Wilson, a cousin of Douglas Thomson, secured a job at the firm in the 1940s, after serving in the Pacific during World War Two.

    Dufty Wilson became a partner in 1947 and the name of the firm became "Thomson Wilson" for the first time. Dufty Wilson was also keen on sport, especially cricket.

  • 1955 - 1970s

    The firm merged with Eric Fidler's practice in 1955, becoming "Thomson Wilson & Fidler". Mr Fidler ("Fid") was small in stature but large in personality, and he remained with the firm as a consultant for many years after his retirement from the partnership in 1986. Many current staff have fond memories of the late Mr Fidler, and in his memory we continue the tradition he set of holding a morning tea shout of strawberries and ice-cream on his birthday each year.

    Before 1955, the firm had operated from premises in Vine and Bank Streets. However, a 1956 flood caused severe damage, and the firm moved to new premises in Rust Ave.

    From the 1960s on, the firm grew and welcomed many more lawyers, some of whom joined the partnership. The firm became "Thomson Wilson Fidler & Heenan" in 1964, when Garth Heenan joined the partnership. Following the retirement from the practice of both Eric Fidler and Garth Heenan, the name of the firm reverted back to "Thomson Wilson" in 1987.

  • 1980s - 2012

    The 1980s was a decade of great change for the firm. Several long-standing partners retired with then partner Alex Twaddle being appointed as a District Court Judge in 1986.

    Four of the present-day partners joined the firm in the 1980s - Graeme Mathias, Grant Currie, Michael Badham and Arthur Fairley. Two of the firm's current partners, Vaughan Syers and Peter Magee, joined the firm in the 2000s.

    Another partner of the firm during this period, Christina Cook, has since been appointed a District Court Judge.

    Under the current partnership the firm has consolidated its position as a leading Northland law firm.

  • 2012

    By 2012 the firm had outgrown our Rathbone Street offices, which we had occupied since 1990. The growth of the firm and passage of time meant that by 2012 those offices could charitably be described as "cosy", and occasional flooding in Whangarei's CBD would see partners and staff outside the building stacking sandbags to protect our offices. More than a few bottles of bubbly were uncorked when we moved to our current, modern premises on Mansfield Terrace.

  • Today

    Our firm today has over 30 staff and partners, with a good mix of experience and youth. Our people are the heart of our firm. Several of our valuable staff members have been with the firm for over 20 years, including Dianne Foster (receptionist-extraordinaire), Karen Shirley, Donna Yearbury and Sandy Johnson (senior legal secretaries), and Tanya Metcalf (our trust account administrator). Newer staff soak up the knowledge these experienced staff provide, as well as adding their own fresh perspectives.

    As a firm we’ve kept abreast of changes in the law and technology – so much so that Bill Thomson would barely recognise the firm as it is today.

    We're excited about Northland’s future, and think Whangarei is only just beginning to realise its potential as a city and a business centre. At Thomson Wilson we'll be doing what we’ve always done - serving our clients with astute legal advice and great service.