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David Downs

Board Member, Consultant, Speaker, Author

David has a portfolio of interests keeping him busy across some key theme areas of technology for public good, healthcare and education (not an adequate description of his extraordinary list of activities).

He is also an ex. comedian, published author and public speaker. We’re especially delighted to have David participating in our event for the second time.

Judge Robyn von Keisenberg

As a family law barrister, Robyn practised in a broad range of areas including relationship property/trust disputes, capacity and mental health issues under the Mental Health Act and Protection of Personal & Property Rights Act legislation and estate litigation. Robyn also represented children on Care of Children Act (CoCA) disputes and trust and estate litigation. Robyn was a senior counsel on Lawyer for Subject Person lists and Lawyer for Child lists. She served on and convened a number of Law Society committees.

'Judge von Keisenberg' was sworn in as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction in March 2020. Her Honour is of Samoan descent and as described, for 25 years preceding her appointment specialised primarily in the area of family law. Judge von Keisenberg practiced at the independent bar since 2000 and was the founding member of Wyndham Chambers. Her Honour is a former chair of the Deportation Review Tribunal (2003-06) and was deputy member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal since 2011 until her appointment to the Bench in 2020. Her Honour was also the chair of the Family Courts Association for several years and is the immediate past president of the Auckland Medico-Legal Society .

Honourable Justice Simon Moore

Justice Moore is undoubtedly one of our city's most respected legal practitioners. He was appointed Crown Solicitor for Auckland in 1994, a role which gave him overall responsibility for the prosecution of all indictable crime in the region.  Justice Moore added to his CV in 2000 when the British Government appointed him public prosecutor for Pitcairn Island.  He became a Queen's Counsel in 2012 and a High Court judge in 2014.  We're delighted that Simon has agreed to adjudicate Battle of the Suits for the third (and he says final) time.


David Seymour, Leader of ACT New Zealand leading our celebrity Battle of the Suits debate team

David Seymour

ACT Leader | MP for Epsom

David grew up in Whangarei with two younger brothers, where his parents were a pharmacist and a draughtsman. As a teenager, he moved to Auckland for high school before graduating from the University of Auckland in electrical engineering and philosophy.

Before politics, David worked as an electrical engineer in New Zealand and for private sector think tanks in Canada. He has served as ACT Leader and MP for Epsom since 2014. In Government, he was responsible for Regulatory Reform and charter schools. From opposition, he passed the End-of-Life Choice Act.

Fearless and principled, he is known for standing up for his constituents and, if necessary, to every other party. He has been named MP of the year three years out of his eight, and ‘the only one talking sense’ too many times to count.

​Heather du Plessis-Allan

Newstalk ZB Drive Host I NZ Herald Columnist

Heather du Plessis-Allan is the host of Newstalk ZB Drive and a columnist for the Herald on Sunday.  Over the last 15 years, she has co-hosted TV3's Story, reported for TVNZ’s Seven Sharp and reported from the Press Gallery for One News.

As a journalist, Heather covered the Oscar Pistorius murder trial in Pretoria, the 2012 London Olympic Games and a number of New Zealand elections.

She has reported from as far afield as Antarctica and Gallipoli.

Heather’s Newstalk ZB Drive radio spot from 4-7pm on weekdays rates consistently high, appealing to a loyal audience who love and respect her discerning ear, no nonsense summations and super sensible perspectives.

Roger Gray

CEO Ports of Auckland

Roger became Ports of Auckland's Chief Executive Officer in March 2022, and is leading a commercial, cultural and safety transformation of the port.

Before joining Ports of Auckland, Roger was CEO of Lyttelton Port Company for two years. Lyttleton is the main import and export hub of the South Island. Prior to that Roger worked for Air New Zealand for 6.5 years. His last role at Air New Zealand was Group General Manager Airports, in which he managed all ground handling and lounge operations at 55 airports around the globe, covering 2,800 staff who handle 18 million passengers annually.

He has held several senior leadership roles with Goodman Fielder, including Managing Director of Quality Bakers – New Zealand. Prior to joining Goodman Fielder Roger served for 20 years in the Australian Army, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.

He holds an MBA, a Masters of Business in Integrated Logistics Management, as well as Bachelor Degrees in Economics and Arts.

Born in Australia, Roger first came to live in New Zealand in 2007, he fell in love with our beautiful country and now calls it home. Four years ago he became a New Zealand citizen. An Australian Rules tragic, Roger barracks for the Melbourne Football Club.


Simon Bridges, Chief Executive of the Auckland Business Chamber leads our Battle of the Suits lawyer team

Simon Bridges

Chief Executive of the Auckland Business Chamber

Simon Bridges is a New Zealand leader and household name given his time in politics and his high media profile over many years.
 A lawyer turned senior National politician and MP for Tauranga, Simon held a raft of senior responsibilities in New Zealand politics, including as Leader of the National Party and of the Opposition.
As a Minister in the Key/English governments Simon held a wide variety of Ministerial portfolios including Economic Development, Transport, Communications, Energy & Resources, Labour, Associate Finance and Leader of the House.
Prior to Parliament, Simon started his career in a national law firm and was then a Crown prosecutor for several years conducting many serious criminal jury trials.
Simon has an LLB (Hons) and BA from Auckland University where he received a Senior Law Prize, and a Bachelor of Civil law from Oxford University (where he met Natalie). In addition, Simon has studied at the London School of Economics and interned at the British House of Commons as part of a Chevening-Hansard Society Fellowship.
In 2021 Simon’s personal memoir, National Identity, became a bestseller, and received significant critical acclaim. It is a heartfelt wide-ranging book of self-reflections and on what it means to be a New Zealander.
Simon has recently retired from politics and today in addition to his commercial and media work is husband of Natalie and dad to Emlyn, Harry and Jemima. At home he enjoys board games and getting out and about with his kids. He also plays the drums (enthusiastically but not so well these days) and likes red wine, podcasts and reading. 

Brian Dickey

Barrister| Bankside Chambers

Brian is a Barrister at Bankside Chambers working with a small number of premium clients. He was previously Crown Solicitor at Auckland (Te Rōia Matua a Te Karauna ki Tāmaki Makaurau), overseeing the prosecution of serious crime in the Auckland region, and personally leading those prosecutions of particular national or regional significance or interest.

He has 30 years’ experience in major criminal, commercial and civil litigation at all levels of the courts system. He led his first High Court trial aged 23 and first murder trial in 2002.

Before being appointed Crown Solicitor in 2015, he spent several years focussing on commercial litigation and white-collar crime, including the run of significant finance company cases arising after the Global Financial Crisis. He has been a member of the Serious Fraud Office panel of prosecutors since 2010. Brian is a patron of New Zealand Police Recruit Wing 321.

In addition, Brian has always maintained a small group of private clients, whom he advises on contentious matters. He has a background in significant civil litigation particularly those involving Companies, Securities and Insolvency law.

Brian joined MC in 1994 and became a partner in 2000. His whakapapa includes Waikato-Tainui (Ngāti Maahanga) and Croatian ancestry.

Aside from his prominence within the legal sector, Brian is a husband, father of three, a horse racing enthusiast, and an alleged "terrible golfer", in-spite of his interest in the sport.

Bridgette Jackson

Founder and CEO Equal Exes

Founder Equal Group Holdings

Bridgette Jackson is CDC-certified Divorce/Separation Coach with a post graduate dispute resolution qualification.  She is also a trained divorce mediator (AIMNZ), Resolution Coach (Institute for Life Coach Training) and enrolled barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

Equal Exes was founded by Bridgette in 2018, having navigated her own high-conflict, prolonged divorce. The client-focused service provides support and guidance for men and women to come through their own separation and/or divorce in a less time-consuming, and costly, process.  In four years the business has grown from a team of two to eleven.

Bridgette has appeared in various print and digital publications including NZ Herald, Stuff, Newshub and BusinessDesk.  The AM Show, Today FM, Radio NZ, Newshub Late and NEWSHUB INVESTIGATES are among media to interview Bridgette for her expert advice on divorce/separation as well as industry news. 


2019 Master of Ceremonies

Miriama Kamo 

2021 Master of Ceremonies

David Downs 

2019 & 2021 Adjudicators

Honourable Justice Simon Moore of the High Court
Court of Appeal Justice Lyn Stevens

2023 Master of Ceremonies

David Downs

2023 Adjudicators

Honourable Justice Simon Moore of the High Court
Judge Robyn Von Keisenberg of the District Court

2019 Celebrity Team

Sir John Key
David Downs
Tom Scott

2021 Celebrity Team

Steven Joyce
Dame Fran Wilde
Karl Budge

2023 Celebrity Team

David Seymour
Heather Du Plessis-Allan
Roger Gray

2019 Legal Team

Michael Timmins - Human Rights Commission
Katherine Anderson - Sangro Chambers
Kathryn Beck - Judge of the Employment Court (2020)

2021 Legal Team

Julian Miles QC - Richmond Chambers
Rachael Reed QC - City Chambers
Tim Orr - Martelli McKegg

2023 Legal Team

Simon Bridges - Auckland Business Chamber
Bridgette Jackson - Equal Exes
Brian Dickey - Bankside Chambers

2019 Moot

Can Auckland City & the Ports of Auckland co-exist? (Celebrity team argued the Affirmative)

2021 Moot

Should the Nation’s Capital Return to Auckland? (Celebrity team argued the Affirmative)

2023 Moot

As Stated In Australia's Constitution New Zealand Should Concede And Become Their 7th State? (Celebrity tam argued the Affirmative)


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