Five minutes with...Ish Fraser, Kensington Swan

by Mackenzie McCarty11 Apr 2014
Ish Fraser is a partner in the commercial leasing practice at Kensington Swan in Wellington. Below, he tells us about a former case involving wine in lieu of rent, how his first job paid $1.76 an hour – and who he’d like to arm-wrestle over dinner…

What made you decide to become a lawyer?
I was a factory hand in Hastings at the time, earning $1.76 an hour. As much as I loved making cardboard and teaching Kampuchean refugees my version of English, I felt like trading up.
You’ve been with Kensington Swan for 24 years – have you ever worked for another firm? Or did you start out at the bottom and work your way up?
Both! In my first firm, I got teased by secretaries who knew more than me about my job and got paid more than I did. I still miss them.
What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
I once drafted a vineyard lease, where the rent was wine (as a percentage of the harvest). Plus GST, of sorts.
If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Chico Marx (piano), Mother Teresa (arm-wrestling) and Britney Spears (she owes me money).
Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
Wine-tasting and spirited yet pointless political debate (in that sequence).
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
A publican in Cooktown, Queensland.
What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the commercial leasing legal space in New Zealand in 2014?
The need for landlords, tenants and insurers (here and overseas) to take an economically sustainable and realistic approach to a very old risk: earthquakes.
If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?
If I had John Key’s job for a day, I’d go fishing with Shane Jones, then legislate for the return of Beaujolais Wine Bar to Woodward Street, Wellington.
If you could represent New Zealand at the Olympics in any sport of your choosing, even if you’ve never tried said sport in your life, what would it be and why?
Too easy – women’s wrestling.
What do you love about your job?
The property industry is a people industry. It’s easy to establish long-standing relationships that improve one’s skills for the benefit of clients. I love combining technical ability with market knowledge to help put deals together.