Our history

Our story traverses 180 years of key court cases, major transactions, and groundbreaking legal work that has changed the way business is done in New Zealand.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Bell Gully’s place as a cornerstone of New Zealand’s business community was established in 1840, the same year the Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. As one of the oldest firms in New Zealand, our fortunes were intrinsically linked with the companies working hard to build a new nation, whose success in doing so means they remain household names. The Auckland Savings Bank, now ASB, the New Zealand Herald, and the Union Bank of Australia, a forerunner of the ANZ, were all among clients of Bell Gully in the 1800s.​

Today, we continue to work for ASB, The New Zealand Herald and ANZ, as well as many others whose place in New Zealand’s business history is assured, companies like Fletcher Building, Fisher & Paykel Appliances, Carter Holt Harvey, Rank Group and Air New Zealand.

Our lawyers were instrumental in setting up some of New Zealan​d’s most well-known businesses, including the BNZ and New Zealand’s first insurance company, NZI. We also played a significant part in civil society throughout the years.​ Alumni include two solicitor-generals, four attorneys-general, three chief justices, numerous High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court judges, a premier, a prime minister and a governor-general.​

As New Zealand has turned to face the world, so have we, with a client base that has expanded to include some of the most well-known international businesses operating in this country, such as Vodafone, Danone and Pernod Ricard.

In 2020, we marked our 180th anniversary.​​​