This is Desiree, our practice manager – a.k.a. the superwoman who keeps our firm ticking behind the scenes.

She wears many hats, solving IT issues one minute and hiring new staff the next. Desiree also happens to be our longest-standing team member, having started with Armstrong Murray in 1979.

We asked Desiree a few questions so you can get to know her better.

1. What’s your favourite type of pizza?

Prawns, chillies and a little mozzarella. Or potato and rosemary (if you haven’t tried it, I can thoroughly recommend it).

2. Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Cat – we have a beautiful Tonkinese who rules our house!

3.  Where was your most memorable holiday?

I’d probably have to pick camping at Tauranga Bay with our children when they were young or our month-long holiday in Italy several years ago.

4. Who is your favourite musician or band?

Elton John.

5. Where is your favourite NZ holiday spot?

Too many to choose from – Great Barrier, Taupo Bay, Ocean Beach and Central Otago are my favourites.

6. What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan. This is the true story of a friendship spanning religious divisions and four decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  It gave me a whole new perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

7. Which TV show are you currently watching?


8. What’s your morning beverage of choice?

Peppermint tea, followed by a flat white around 10 am.

9. What’s your evening beverage of choice?

A gin and tonic or a glass of red wine.

10. What’s your least favourite food?

Tripe. My husband loves it, but he only gets to eat it when my mother makes it for him. The smell of it makes me feel nauseous! 

11. You’re happiest when…. 

I’m spending time with my beautiful baby grandson.

12. Which song are you embarrassed to admit you like?

Some of the Abba hits.

13. What’s your favourite local restaurant or cafe?

Chateaubriant in Devonport. They make great coffee, delicious French pastries, takeout meals and a selection of pâtés, cheeses etc. Definitely worth a trip to Devonport to check them out.

14. What aspect of your role do you love the most?

Every day is different. My role encompasses such a wide variety of responsibilities including accounting, IT, HR, marketing, property management etc. What I really love though is interacting with the team and helping everyone achieve their potential.

15. What led you down this career path?

I have always worked in the legal industry. I started working for Armstrong Murray in 1979. In 1985, my husband and I moved to Sydney for a couple of years. We returned to NZ in 1987 and my old job happened to become vacant again, so I returned to the firm on a part-time basis and have been here ever since. My role has evolved over time, from trust accountant to practice manager.

16. What did you want to be when growing up?

A Karitane nurse or school teacher.

17. What could you give a 30-minute presentation on with no preparation?

I could easily talk about my role as a celebrant and why I believe it’s important to give people the freedom to create a ceremony (whether it’s a wedding, baby naming or funeral) that truly reflects them and tells their story. 

18. What’s something that has surprised you about your chosen career path?

Despite their reputation, lawyers are great people to work with. They genuinely care about their clients and go above and beyond to ensure that their needs are met. 

19. What job would you be terrible at?

A scientist. I hated chemistry and all the science subjects at school.

20. What do you like most about Armstrong Murray?

Our team. We work well together and enjoy each other’s company, both professionally and socially.