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A Brief History of Our Firm:

Over a century of continuous practice:

The firm has been providing legal advice and services to the Matamata Piako District since before the First World War, making it one of the most enduring businesses in the Waikato.

The firm was established by Mr M H Hampson, of Rotorua, as a branch office. Mr Hampson was an energetic New Zealander, born at Rotorua in 1889 and educated at Auckland, where he obtained his law degree. Mr Hampson travelled widely throughout the region and was highly regarded as a Barrister, appearing on one occasion before the Privy Council in London.

In 1912, Mr Percy Greatbatch came to Matamata and was the first resident partner of the firm, then called Hampson & Greatbatch. A fine cricketer and tennis player, in 1915 Mr Greatbatch enlisted to serve with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

Initially a Sergeant, he was promoted to Lieutenant. Mr Greatbatch went on to serve on the Somme salient with B Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd (New Zealand) Rifle Brigade.  He was shot and died of his wounds on 20 October 1916. He is buried at Estaires Communal Cemetery in France. His memory is commemorated on the Cenotaph at Tainui Street, Matamata. For more information regarding Mr Greatbatch please scroll down this page.

Following the Great War, Mr G G Bell replaced Mr Greatbatch as resident partner and the firm was renamed, Hampson & Bell. In the 1950's Mr Bell was joined in partnership by Mr Reg Larkin, with the firm changing its name to Bell & Larkin.

Don Howden, who was born in Matamata, joined Mr Larkin in 1974. When Mr Larkin retired, Mr Tim Hart joined the practice, and it was renamed Larkin Hart and Howden.

Don has over forty years experience in rural legal practice, and has considerable expertise in conveyancing, trusts and estate planning.

In the 1990's the firm purchased two smaller practices, that of R C Jones in Matamata and one in Whangamata.  Mr Hart took over the office at Whangamata and the firm restyled itself as Jones Howden.

From Tokoroa High School via Otago University, Peter Hardie joined the firm in 1991. Peter has conducted criminal jury trials, civil and family cases throughout the country. Like Mr Hampson before him Peter has appeared in Courts from Invercargill to Whangarei conducting cases in the District and Family Courts, Environment Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

In 2016 Christine Wilson, who grew up in Matamata and attended Matamata College became a partner.  Christine has worked in the firm since 2009 and she brings a fresh perspective to the practice, with her interests predominantly in conveyancing, rural property and commercial law.

The firm is proud to be a general practice firm offering sound legal advice and representation to clients in Matamata, the Waikato and beyond.

The firm now employs one consultant, three staff solicitors, two legal executives, one trust account administrator and knowledgeable secretarial support staff.


Peter Hardie: Partner: BA, LLB. (Otago)

Christine Wilson: Partner: LLB, NZ.Dip.Bus. (Waikato)

Don Howden: Consultant: LLB. (Auckland)

Owen Chapman: Solicitor: BA (Hons), Grad.Dip.T., Grad.Dip.Mktg., LLB (Waikato), MCW (Auckland)

Shontelle Stoner: Solicitor: LLB. (Waikato)

Carolyn Patel: Legal Secretary

Destiny Webb: Legal Secretary

Melanie Liddall: Legal Executive

Natasha Strauss: Trust Account Administrator

Shaydene Begovich: Receptionist