As Tauranga’s oldest business we’re pretty proud to be celebrating a milestone in our region.
It all started in 1896, when Henry Sharp opened his law practice on the Strand in Tauranga’s city centre. He then invited fellow lawyer, Archie Tudhope to join him, 15 years later. They literally ‘joined up’ by using bullocks to pull their two offices together on Spring Street! 125 years ago they set a precedent for innovative business thinking, and we’ve never wavered from this approach!
Proud to be Tauranga’s Oldest Business
Founders Henry Sharp and Archie Tudhope
to be proud of
With 125 years of heritage, Sharp Tudhope has been involved in many of our region’s milestone moments.
Michael Batchelor, Mr K Hearle, Mr M Hornabrook, Carolyn Taylor and Alasdair Christie at the opening of BOP Polytechnic Bongard Centre
Jeremy Sutton, Alasdair Christie, Michael Batchelor and Caroline Taylor – Route P Waikareo Expressway opening 1992
Newspaper article from 1996 of Bruce Gordon gifting Mayor Noel Pope the Arthur Dagley painting
In 1992 we joined the community in celebrating the opening of Route P on the Waikareo Expressway. The same year we acknowledged our involvement in the opening of the BOP Polytechnic’s Bongard Centre on Cameron Rd. In 1996, to mark our 100 years in business, Partner Bruce Gordon officially handed over a painting by Tauranga artist Arthur Dagley to then Tauranga Mayor, Noel Pope. Gifted by Sharp Tudhope to the city, the painting depicted Tauranga Harbour Bridge and environs.
Over the years, Sharp Tudhope has also acted for many of the organisations in the city and our partners have led the way in the legal sector.
In 1985, partner Bruce D’Young recognised the advantages in medium sized legal practices throughout New Zealand combining to pool their resources. This enabled them to provide an increasingly sophisticated range of services and be more responsive to the changing needs of society. It was this thinking that saw Sharp Tudhope take an instrumental role in setting up the Lawlink organisation. Within two years, Lawlink boasted a network of 21 independent legal firms with Bruce as Chair.
Community support is deep in our DNA
Across business, social and community sectors we believe in making a difference.
From Riding for the Disabled to Waipuna Hospice, Tauranga Arts Festival, Tauranga Art Gallery, the Graeme Dingle Foundation and Rescue, Revive, Rehome, we work to active support and nurture a thriving community.
“It’s about giving back and assisting vital organisations that provide pivotal and often life-changing services and support.” – John Gordon, Partner
Supporting and nurturing the arts has always been a passion for Sharp Tudhope. It was back in 1997 that we hosted Fantasie ’97 as part of our 100-year celebrations. 18,000 people turned up to the Tauranga Domain for the event which raised funds for the Western Bay of Plenty Life Education and was heralded as our first ‘Opera in the Park’.
Pro bono work has also been, and continues to be, a fundamental display of the values of Sharp Tudhope. New Zealand motor racing driver Liam Lawson is one such recipient of this support. We worked alongside Liam to negotiate contractual arrangements that enabled him to compete in Formula 3 and 2 with the ultimate goal of racing in Formula 1.
The STEM Wana Trust is another organisation we have been privileged to support. In October 2019 The Trust delivered a world-class STEM Festival in Tauranga, the first of its kind in New Zealand, and is now delivering this as an annual event to inspire a new generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.
(L-R back) James Dow, Alasdair Christie, John Gordon, Shima Grice, Bill Chapman, Richard Hoare,
(L-R front) Hamish Murray, Brooke Courtney, Richard Kettelwell
So, what’s in store for Sharp Tudhope for the next 125 years? More of the same!
“This is our home. We’re deeply committed to Tauranga and our region. Both the firm and Tauranga need to continue to flourish, and we have a fundamental part to play in that.”
Richard Hoare, Partner
A future focussed approach
As Tauranga’s oldest business we have a lot of heritage to pay homage to.
Yet at the same time we are a future focused business in everything we do. We asked some of our team what they see in the future for Sharp Tudhope…
“Some of the partners have been here many more years than me and whilst we might be the oldest business in Tauranga we are not an old firm in the way we work. Yes, our roots are firmly down in the community but as a newer partner my job is to leverage off that and continue it but also to bring my own perspective.” – Richard Hoare, Partner
“We will continue to evolve and change for the better. We’ve had a number of new people start from the other firms in the last 12-18 months and most of them have remarked that our use of technology in terms of our client management and software systems is light years ahead. We are not the firm that still does things how they were done 50 years ago. There’s a real energy here and I think people find that both surprising and refreshing”. – Shima Grice, Partner
“We would hope that in another 125 years the Sharp Tudhope team will still be having these conversations around our deep connections with our clients and our community and we’re still actively contributing to the growth of this region.” – John Gordon, Partner
“As a progressive law firm, we have a vision for the future and a robust succession plan. We have new team members joining us each year to ensure we have diversity and a really strong mix of experience, heritage, fresh thinking and innovative approaches to doing business.” – Matthew Billett, Partner
At the heart of it all, our future comes down to our people. For 125 years we’ve been upholding legal excellence and we couldn’t do it without the dedication and expertise of our team.
We acknowledge and thank our team for the contribution they make, every day, to our clients, our firm and this region.
Building for the future
In 1971 Sharp Tudhope celebrated 75 years in business.
At the celebrations there was acknowledgment of the original partnership of Henry Sharp and Archie Tudhope and the unique way they literally joined their two office buildings on Spring Street.
According to a Bay of Plenty Times article on the celebration, Sharp Tudhope’s then Bank Manager, Mr. J. M. Oliver, noted that because the buildings were not precisely aligned, they were joined by a passageway “something like those between passenger cars on the old Main Trunk Trains.”
Today, our offices at the top of Devonport Road bear no signs of any misalignment in construction. Designed by leading architects Jasmax and built by Watts & Hughes, it was Tauranga’s first green-star rated building when it was completed and opened in 2012.
The brief, from the outset, was to make the building pragmatically green. With the majority of our partners having grown up in Tauranga, it was important to us to leave something positive as our legacy in the CBD.
“Our building was just one step along a continuum of a long process where you are designing and building offices not to harm but to be beneficial to the people around them.” – Alasdair Christie, Partner