Emma Tonkin

LLB (Hons) / BA
Emma moved into private wealth originally from a background in property and property finance.

Emma specialises in private wealth, real estate and overseas investment. She principally advises clients on their property rights and obligations; whether they arise through:

  • Being a settlor, trustee or beneficiary of a trust  
  • Relationships between spouses, civil union partners and de-facto partners
  • Investment in New Zealand real estate or land related assets; or
  • Lending or borrowing within families

Emma has advised on a wide variety of business and lifestyle assets including forestry, coastal farmland, quarry/mining assets and greenfield residential development.  This expertise is valuable for clients because so many of these assets are held in New Zealand through trusts.

With increased scrutiny on trusts, proper trust governance is very important, as is determining whether a particular trust still serves the right purpose.  Emma can review your existing trust to help you develop a plan for the future.  She can also assist you with other parts of the estate planning process; including preparing wills and enduring powers of attorney.

Emma is also an expert in relation to the Overseas Investment Act 2005 (as amended).  She guides clients through the often complex process of working with the Overseas Investment Office on both applications and enforcement matters.

Emma advises both vendors and purchasers in relation to their regulatory obligations, and has worked closely with overseas investors over the past few years where change has been a constant. 

As an advisor, Emma brings an empathetic approach to her work.  She is adept at understanding family dynamics and, enjoys helping generations with their succession planning, particularly as a large part of the private wealth market in New Zealand matures. 

Emma is a regular speaker at seminars on Trust Law.  She is also a member of The Law Association’s Trust Law Committee.


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Examples of work completed by Emma include:


Insights & Opinion / Emma Tonkin

Money stack black and white
Income is classified as relationship property – surprised?
For all couples, embarking on the journey of building a life together involves not only love and commitment but also financial considerations.  As you navigate through shared finances, it’s imp...
26.03.2024 Posted in Private Wealth
Family Hands Paper Dolls Wide BW
Variations of Trust: Court’s Position Confirmed
Last year we published an article titled Variations of Trust: Obtaining the Court’s Blessing on the High Court decision in Re Jury Family Trusts [2022] NZHC 568 (Re Jury). In Re Jury, the High C...
05.02.2024 Posted in Private Wealth
property division concept
Supreme Court unanimously dismisses relationship property appeal. 
Last year we published an article titled The curious case of Sutton v Bell – How your de facto relationship status can impact your ability to restructure your property on the Court of Appeal decisio...
16.08.2023 Posted in Private Wealth & Property
Property (Relationships) Act 1976 – Room for Three?
In the landmark decision of Mead v Paul ,[1] a question was posed to the Supreme Court regarding whether the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (Act) applies to triangular polyamorous relationships.  ...
18.07.2023 Posted in Disputes & Private Wealth & Property
Legler v Formannoij [2022] NZCA 607 – Self Dealing for an Improper Purpose?
In Legler v Formannoij [2022] NZCA 607, the children of a deceased father challenge their stepmother’s decision to appoint a corporate trustee, exclude the children and the family trust as beneficia...
09.06.2023 Posted in Private Wealth
macro gdfd
Property Law Act COVID Extensions to End in March
Extended timeframes for taking enforcement action on mortgage defaults and unpaid commercial lease rental will come to an end on 20 March 2023. The extended timeframes were brought in by amendments to...
03.03.2023 Posted in Property
Family Love Hands website
The End of Life Choice Act 2019: What you need to know
The End of Life Choice Act 2019 (Act) came into force on 7 November 2021, giving people who are experiencing unbearable suffering from a terminal illness the option to legally request medical assistance to end their life.
22.02.2022 Posted in Private Wealth