Our Specialist Teams

All our legal people work in a dedicated team specialising in a particular area of law. By having these specialist legal teams, we can be assured of giving clients the right person complete with the right advice!

To find out more about each specialist team, click on the links below.

Gerard Praat

Gerard Praat(Nelson)


Litigation Team

Gerard is very much the family man having spent the last 25 odd years raising his three strapping lads with wife, Megan.  With the boys recently flying the coup, Gerard is now dangerously free to pursue his much guarded secret hobby – DYI and is often found plotting the next  foray into the improvement of the backyard or more

Jo McNabb

Jo McNabb(Richmond)

Senior Estates Clerk

Estates Team

Jo is Chief Mate of the launch “Enchanta” and when it is raining or she needs money for diesel, you’ll find her sitting at her desk doing estates work to pay for her pastime!  Alternatively you can find her playing with her little dog, Minnie – a cavapoochon, or drinking great local wines and putting her feet up with a more

Shelley Conlon

Shelley Conlon(Richmond)

Registered Legal Executive

Estates Team

Shelley joined Knapps in February 2019 and we liken her to a younger, female version of our “Mervyn.”  What Shelley doesn’t know about estates could be printed on a pin head!  This experience has been gained through a lifelong career in legal firms – starting way back in Invercargill and yes, you will pick up  the more

Amanda Crehan

Amanda Crehan(Richmond)

Managing Partner

Estates Team

Amanda emigrated to Nelson in 2014 with her Kiwi husband after 15 years as a partner in a large regional law firm in the UK.  England’s loss has certainly been our gain as Amanda brings to our firm specialist litigation skills around claims and disputes arising from wills and estates.  Amanda is team leader of our large more

Ian Turner

Ian Turner(Richmond)


Family Trust Team

If Ian wasn’t a lawyer, he would either be a chef, opera singer or a novelist so it is no surprise that when not at work he can be found either cooking, listening to music or reading!When in the office, he is our Family Trust guru and is now regarded as one of Nelson’s leading specialists in this area. Over the years he more

Gary Stocker

Gary Stocker(Nelson)


Commercial Team

The saying, ‘life is too short to drink cheap wine” is probably Gary’s mantra and backed up by a very impressive wine cellar and indepth knowledge of New Zealand and Australian wines. At the other end of the spectrum, Gary is also a European car enthusiast and owner of a Citroen 2CV Charlston – the perfect car for more

Michael Stocker

Michael Stocker(Nelson)

Senior Associate

Commercial Team

Mobile, adaptable, ambitious, tech savvy and empathetic; these traits form the ethos of “Tomorrow’s Lawyers”, a philosophy that Michael embraces.  Michael welcomes the challenge of technology driven change and disruption, and is comfortable working from any location (or timezone!).  It's all about adopting whatever more

Hamish Kennedy

Hamish Kennedy(Motueka, Richmond)


Property Team

Hamish is the founding partner of our office in Motueka having set up Kennedy & Associates in 1985.  In October 2013, Hamish merged his firm with Knapps Lawyers giving the firm a truly regional presence with offices now in Motueka, Richmond and Nelson.  Hamish is a well known face around the town having spent 33 years more

Jacintha Atkinson

Jacintha Atkinson(Richmond)

Senior Associate

Property Team

A true Southern Girl, Jacintha completed the majority of her schooling in Invercargill, graduating in December 2009 from the University of Otago having completed a double degree in Law and Arts  (majoring in Psychology). She then landed her very first legal position as a solicitor with Bannermans Lawyers, a local firm in more

Colenna Ward

Colenna Ward(Nelson)

Senior Associate (Commercial)

Commercial Team

To say Colenna started at the bottom and worked her way up sounds an odd thing to say but that is exactly what she has done.  Her foray into law saw her start out as a legal secretary when she was only 20 years of age!  She then took over running the firm’s trust and office accounts which has given her a solid background in more

Kelly Jonasen

Kelly Jonasen(Nelson)

Registered Legal Executive

Litigation Team

Way back in 2002, Kelly made her first foray into the legal world.  It seems a long time ago but Kelly is not old by any stretch of the imagination ... she just started young!!!  Seventeen years later we have a 'veteran' litigation/family law survivor who is a qualified legal executive.To say that Kelly loves working in more

Bronwyn Lane

Bronwyn Lane(Nelson)

Registered Legal Executive

Commercial Team

Bronwyn also joined Knapps Lawyers in July 2013 as a result of the merger with Hunter Ralfe. A huge asset to Knapps, Bronwyn brought with her 29 years of legal office experience – 20 of these years include conveyancing experience. Bronwyn is now part of the Knapps Nelson commercial team alongside Gary and Michael but brings more

Mervyn Huston

Mervyn Huston(Richmond)


Estates Team

After 47 years with Knapps, Merv has finally called it a day and has officially retired from active service! Sadly he will no longer be available to clients but fortunately for us, he will be staying on in an advisory capacity to assist the Estates team.  His knowledge in the area of Will drafting and complex estates is more

Sara Clelland

Sara Clelland(Motueka)


Property Team

Sara is one of our local girls and hails from Motueka where she was born, schooled and where she now still lives with her husband. Recently she just had her second baby so her outside interests now largely revolve around spending time with her two little girls, Chloe and Katie.When in the office, Sara looks after our more

Christine Allison

Christine Allison(Richmond)

Registered Legal Executive

Property Team

Despite her youthful appearance, Christine is officially a “Nana” and claims looking after her grandchildren and spending time with them is the best fun out there! Equally high on the ‘fun’ list is spending time with her immediate and extended family making Christine the consummate family girl!No wonder then that more

Kirsty Goodall

Kirsty Goodall(Nelson)

Registered Legal Executive

Property Team

This is one girl you wouldn’t pick for spending her weekends out in the forestry with her dirt bike (called Bella) and competing in motor cross…..but trust us, she does!!!!   Kirsty has one big attraction to bikes it appears – she has a road bike, a dirt bike and a mountain bike and competes in various local events. more

Max Palzer

Max Palzer(Nelson)

Lease Manager (Commercial)

Commercial Team

Max was lucky enough to grow up in the top of the south after his parents immigrated from Germany in 1988. The first port of call was Kaiteriteri before moving to the end of the road in Marahau where Max continues to live with his young family. Between graduating with a Bachelor of Laws from Victoria University and joining more

Kelly Kinaston

Kelly Kinaston(Richmond)

Registered Legal Executive (Property)

Property Team

Kelly arrived in our little corner of the world as an 18 year old having been born and raised in Australia.  She developed an interest in property at an early age and embarked on what was to be a successful 16 year career as a real estate agent for a leading local Nelson agency. In 2016, Kelly made a career changing decision more

Joe Sims

Joe Sims(Richmond)

General Manager

Believe it or not, Joe is the second ex-policeman to have made it onto our payroll – now this is not a statistic that may make the Guiness Book of Records – but one that is certainly interesting for us and one that brings a lot of additional and possibly handy skills to his position as General Manager!!! Joe was a police more