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Farewell to Rob Wills

Written By: Gerard Molloy

It is with sadness that we announce Rob Wills will be retiring from the firm early next year.

Rob is much loved by clients and staff alike.   His zest for squeezing the most out of life is infectious.

Rob joined Haigh Lyon as a partner in 1992 having previously been a partner at another firm.  Like Rob, his clients have been loyal, and followed him to the new firm.  He continued to advise on property, trust and commercial matters, and in the intervening 28 years he has never had a quiet patch.

He was even busier outside the office.  While raising and educating four children, Anna, Nicola, Julia and Jonathan, he somehow managed to find time to run, cycle and swim.  And he did this a lot!

Rob is a well-known figure at endurance events.  He completed the Coast to Coast three times, participated in numerous marathons including the New York Marathon – with a number of his family in tow, smashed three Ironman races and rode Alpe D’Heuz. He also represented New Zealand at three World Triathlon Championships, proudly captaining the team in Chicago.

As many of you know, it is not unusual to see Rob running or biking around Auckland on a Sunday, putting most of us, no matter what age, to shame with the energy and discipline he brings to his training.

He also continues to be an active member of Downtown Auckland Rotary, including a term as president.

The secret to fitting all this in?  Sleeping through law society seminars.  (Rob is famous for nodding off as soon as the presenter begins).  And a loving and supportive wife, Joanne; who is just as much a part of the staff as Rob.

The firm owes a lot to Rob, not only for his legal knowledge and fantastic clients, but also his mentoring and guidance. Haigh Lyon has a unique and supportive culture, and many clients will not be aware of the extra lengths Rob goes to;  whether it involves getting dressed up for a function, presentation of monthly staff awards or getting involved in firm activities like the corporate challenge. A few years ago, a staff member was moving to Australia, so we cleared away the desks, divided the staff into two teams and had a game of indoor cricket between Australia and New Zealand. We needed a surprise streaker so we secretly asked Rob.  In typical Rob fashion he quietly snuck out donned his speedos, a cape and a mask and ran out onto the ‘pitch’, to give a farewell hug.

Rob turned 70 this year, and is going to take some time to travel and hang out with his four grandchildren.  But we expect he’ll still be around the office anytime there’s a morning tea; though hopefully not in his speedos!