Whakaari Prosecution: Insights and Lessons

The eruption of Whakaari was a profound event in New Zealand and the legal cases that followed stand as some of the most significant health and safety proceedings in New Zealand’s history. 

In this webinar, experts intimately involved in the case will share firsthand accounts, explaining and analysing the various pre-trial, trial and sentencing judgments. They will also delve into the practical and legal implications of these decisions, providing invaluable insights into risk management and compliance – of interest for all lawyers practising or interested in this area.

Who Should Attend?

Employment Lawyers, Health & Safety Lawyers, HR Professionals, General Practitioners, Commercial Lawyers, In-house Lawyers.

Learning Outcomes

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape surrounding the Whakaari case. 
  • Grasp the case history, including material facts and intricacies of the investigation process.
  • Gain insights into the perspectives of involved parties and key players, unravelling their roles and responsibilities.
  • Benefit from an analysis of the principles applied by the Court regarding PCBUs duties under ss 36(1), 36(2), 37 and 44 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
  • Obtain guidance for directors / officers who may be interviewed or questioned.
  • Understand how reparations were assessed in this case.
  • Pick up tips on the practical implications for advising clients on PCBU and officer duties.


Brett Harris
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Brett is a Barrister in the Britomart area, Auckland. Brett’s specialist area of health & safety defence work dates back to 1999. Over those 25 years, he has been involved with hundreds of cases including accident investigations, Maritime NZ and TAIC investigations, workplace prosecutions, Health & Safety trials, Coronial matters, private prosecutions, a number of successful Enforceable Undertakings and he has provided a range risk management advice for insurers / Directors / PCBUs / clients / Motorsport organisations. Brett is also the Convenor of The Law Association’s Health & Safety Law Committee and he acted for Whakaari Management Ltd (and others) in the immediate aftermath of the Whakaari eruption.

Grant Nicholson
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Grant Nicholson, Partner, Anthony Harper

Grant Nicholson is a partner at Anthony Harper in Auckland. With nearly 30 years’ legal experience, Grant has been involved in the investigations into many of New Zealand's worst workplace disasters, including the Whakaari/White Island volcano eruption and the Pike River mine explosions. 

Grant regularly helps clients with serious incident investigations and representation during interaction with regulators and the courts, as well as with health and safety compliance and governance. Grant is currently working on a range of cases arising from farming, forestry, infrastructure/construction, manufacturing, and transportation/logistics incidents. 

Garth Gallaway
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Garth Gallaway is one of New Zealand’s leading legal experts in Health & Safety. Garth acts for employers in investigations and prosecutions, both on direct instructions and through insurers. Additionally, he represents numerous clients and Boards of PCBUs, providing strategic health and safety advice. Garth has been involved in some of New Zealand’s highest-profile health and safety cases and coronial inquests, and provides strategic legal advice to leading corporates and boards on Health & Safety matters. He has extensive experience in aviation and marine cases and in investigations involving forestry, manufacturing, mining, tourism, construction, farming, roading, transport, medical issues and fishing.

Garth is recognised as a Leading Individual by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2024 and as a Leading Lawyer by Chambers Asia Pacific 2024. 



Pricing Details

Ticket Price

Member: $95 GST

Non-Member: $135 GST


Registration Close Date