Est 1915

Buddle McCleary Kennedy

Our firm was established in 1915 by Leonard Buddle. Leonard was succeeded by his son Joe Buddle, and then subsequent generations of partners and directors since then.

We are located on the Waterfront at the Whakatane Heads on Muriwai Drive, right next to the Coastguard. We provide legal advice and representation on a broad range of matters.

Who we are

Our Team

Jake McCleary, B.Ag.Sc, LLB


After graduating with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Massey University, Jake went on to complete law at Victoria University in Wellington.

Jake handles all the firms Litigation. He has particular expertise in Relationship Property and Estate Litigation and has won numerous reported Relationship Property cases with complex legal issues. Jake has represented clients in all NZ courts as lead counsel, including the Supreme Court. He is also a specialist in asset planning and asset protection as well as advising on all other Commercial and Property Law matters.

Outside work Jake is a keen fisherman, tennis player and surfer.


Debbie Kennedy, LLB


Debbie Kennedy is one of the firms Directors, who now manages the majority of legal work previously undertaken by Ian Bentley.

Debbie’s areas of practice are Trust Administration, Wills and Powers of Attorney, Property and Commercial Conveyancing, Commercial Leases, Refinancing and Securities, Subdivisions, Employment, Maori land law, Debt Collection and Disputes.

Outside of work Debbie likes to mountain bike, walk and spend time with her family.


Peter Attewell, LL.B

Director & Notary Public

Peter has been a Director of Attewell Clews & Cooper for over 30 years making him the longest standing partner in the firm’s history. He leads the firm’s commercial and property team and provides advice on business law, commercial lending, rural and residential conveyancing and asset protection. He also oversees the firm’s Estate practice.

Over the years Peter has developed long-lasting relationships with a large number of loyal clients and has become their trusted legal adviser and an integral part of their business operations. Acting for financiers, horticultural and dairy farmers, and business and property owners, Peter offers our clients practical and understandable advice and assistance.

“I have a genuine interest in the activities of our clients” says Peter. “I enjoy being able to provide practical and personalised legal advice.”

Peter is the only Notary Public in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and is authorised by the Archbishop of Canterbury in England to officially certify the authenticity of legal documents usually for use overseas.

Out of the office, Peter enjoys playing golf, working on the farm and watching rugby.


Adeline Redman, LLB (Hons)

Senior Associate

Adeline Redman specialises in separation and relationship property matters and estate disputes alongside Jake McCleary. Additionally, Adeline can also advise you on Trusts, Wills, Enduring Power of Attorney, PPPR applications and employment matters and brings an empathetic and practical approach to legal issues.

Adeline also has extensive knowledge in property transactions due to having spent several years in real estate prior to completing her law degree. Adeline is able to advise on buying and selling your home, investment property and commercial property.

Outside of work, Adeline is a current board member for Pou Whakaaro which is a mental health, disability and addictions support service in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Apart from having great times with family and friends, Adeline enjoys hiking, long walks on the beach, fishing, snorkelling, travel, renovating and gardening.


Julie Darkin

Registered Legal Executive

Julie has 20 years’ experience, both here and in the UK, and is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Legal Executives.

Julie specialises in all aspects of residential and commercial conveyancing, refinancing and securities, and also assists clients in the formation of Family Trusts, gifting, commercial leases, incorporation of companies, subdivisions and the preparation of Wills and Powers of Attorney.

Julie takes instructions directly from clients as well as assisting Jake McCleary with his Commercial and Property work.

Outside of work Julie enjoys walking and fishing.


Denise Masters, FNZILE

Registered Legal Executive/Conveyancing Practitioner

Denise joined the firm following the merger with Attewell Clews & Cooper on 1 April 2024. Denise has been a Registered Legal Executive and a Fellow of the NZ Institute of Legal Executives for many years, is also a Conveyancing Practitioner and brings to Buddle McCleary Kennedy Limited in excess of 25 years of conveyancing experience.

Denise’s experience, professionalism and friendly advice in all aspects of residential and commercial conveyancing, refinancing, Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney, Trust Management and related matters are well known.

Denise enjoys being able to provide clients with the best possible legal advice and guidance to ensure their satisfaction.
Denise is available to assist clients in both our Whakatane office and in Rotorua.

Outside of the office Denise enjoys spending time with family and catching up with friends over a coffee at a local café.


Jadie Shaw

Legal Executive

Jadie has graduated her diploma in Legal Executive studies and is currently studying and completing her Law Degree.

Jadie assists Debbie Kennedy with Trust Administration, Wills and Enduring Power of Attorney, Property and Commercial Conveyancing, Commercial Leases, Refinancing, Securities and Subdivisions.


Kay McKenzie

Legal Executive

Kay has previously worked in law firms in Wellington and Mount Maunganui and joined our team in 2013.

She specialises in estate administration and attends to all matters regarding the Probate application process, striving to make the process as stress-free as possible for our clients.


Vanessa Kiestaller

Registered Legal Executive

Vanessa is a Registered Legal Executive and joined the firm following the merger of Attewell Clews & Cooper in April 2024. Vanessa is available to help our clients in Whakatane and Tauranga, where she is based.

Specialising in Estate Administration and Estate Planning, Vanessa is experienced in guiding clients through the Probate and administration process and providing expert advice on Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney. Vanessa can also assist with property matters, including transfers of property, survivorship, and finance.

Vanessa is passionate about helping clients navigate through the legal aspects of managing estates and ensuring their assets are protected. With her empathy and attention to detail, she is dedicated to facilitating the best outcome for her clients, while working with the attitude that there is not a “one size fits all” approach.

If you are looking to plan for the future and secure your legacies, Vanessa is here to assist you every step of the way.

Outside of work, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family, being active and is involved in her community as a coach and volunteer.


Our Services

Property and Commercial Law

Estates, Wills and Asset Planning

Disputes and Litigation