“I will continue to empower and encourage my staff to perform at their best as I have done for the last decade. I will continue to advocate for my clients, embracing new technology and being open to business and industry changes”
Dixon Insurance Services
With over 30 years of experience in public and administrative law, Mai Chen has an impressive career that has included work with former prime ministers; publishing several books on public law; and trailblazing the impact of superdiversity on courts, law and policy. She previously served on the Securities Commission for two terms and spent seven years as a director on the Bank of New Zealand Board. She was also an adjunct professor at the School of Business and the law faculty at the University of Auckland for many years. Now a barrister at Public Law Toolbox Chambers, she is considered one of the country’s foremost experts in her field.
Throughout her longstanding career, Chen has handled cases involving the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and Treaty of Waitangi issues, as well as education, employment, regulatory law and white-collar fraud. Having emigrated to New Zealand at six and a half years old, she found herself part of the first Taiwanese family in the South Island. She is now chair of the Superdiversity Institute of Law, Policy and Business and president of New Zealand Asian Lawyers, all of which she founded. She shifted to Auckland from Wellington almost 10 years ago, aiming to plug the gap she saw in the lack of a superdiversity framework in the courts, law, public policy and business.
In addition to running a law firm, Chen is a prolific writer in the legal field. She penned New Zealand’s first practice book on public law, which aims to help the public understand how the government system works. Chen says that writing Public Law Toolbox was particularly important for her personally, as it provides access to information that might usually be seen as “the preserve of the elite or for privileged insiders only”.
Level 10, 63 Albert Street, Auckland, CBD 1010
021 565 709
Public Law Toobox Chambers
“To be able to give back to the community is rewarding and fulfilling. I am honoured to be in a position where I can raise funds for those less fortunate and in need”
Dixon Insurance Services
1987–1998: Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship to study at Harvard Law School
1988: Ferguson Human Rights Fellowship; scholarship granted by the Harvard Human Rights Program to be a fellow at the international labour office in Geneva working on the UN Women’s Convention and the ILO Indigenous People’s Convention; Irving Oberman Memorial Award: Best Human Rights Thesis at Harvard Law School (topic: treaty of Waitangi and Māori rights)
2000: Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management; Honorary Associate of the Auckland University of Technology
2007–2011: Won the Best Public Law Firm in the New Zealand Law Awards
2007–2008: Runner-up in the Best Boutique Firm category of the New Zealand Law Awards
2009–2010: Unlimited Magazine Top Influencer’s List
2010: Won the Best Boutique Firm Category
2011: Finalist in Employment Law in the New Zealand Law Awards; Next Magazine’s Business Woman of the Year
2012: Supreme Judges Panel Award and Professional Excellence Award at the New Zealand Chinese Business Elite Awards; Runner-up in Best Public Law Firm in the New Zealand Law Awards
2013: Won the Best Public Law Firm in the New Zealand Law Awards; Business Entrepreneur New Zealand Women of Influence Award
2014: Top 10 Finalist for New Zealander of the Year
2016: Global Diversity List: Top 50 Diversity Figures in Public Life; Top 10 Finalist for New Zealander of the Year
2016–2018: Zonta Woman of the Biennium Award
2017: Finalist for EY Entrepreneur of the Year
2021: Recognised as one of NZ Lawyer’s Elite Women; recognised as one of NZ Lawyer’s Most Influential Lawyers
2022: Recognised as one of NZ Lawyer’s Most Influential Lawyers
2023: Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Otago (to be accepted on 16 December)
Assistant Vice President and Senior Broker at MJ Hall & Company since 2018
Suncorp Bank introduces Solar Home Bonus offer for customers who are choosing renewable energy for their homes
Month-on-month market share growth commences
Suncorp Bank wins the Canstar award for most outstanding value in investment loans
Suncorp Bank wins Money Magazine’s Bank of the Year and Business Bank of the Year awards for the fifth year in a row
Suncorp Bank’s turnaround times are the lowest they have ever been. The lender becomes Australia’s first certified carbon neutral bank for both its operation and transaction services
How does he distinguish himself among fellow brokers?
“I believe all brokers are working very hard in a difficult market,” he says. “However, I have demonstrated continued growth, advocacy and performance on my client’s behalf, which is now recognised [for 10 consecutive years] in the Elite Broker awards.”
In 1990, Dixon got started with FAI, working in claims and as a team leader. From the late 1990s up until 2003, he worked at FAI and Suncorp in underwriting and as an area manager at VACC, CGU (South East Queensland). From 2003 to 2012, he got into broking and eventually started Dixon Insurance in 2013. Since then, he’s accumulated numerous acccolades, including Elite Broker, Diversity and Equity, and Fast Broker awards.
During the pandemic, Dixon challenged insurers over the Quarantine Act application to insurance wordings. His argument was that the Quarantine Act does not apply as an exclusion, as the Biosecurity Act was invoked by the Morrison Government, and this was not a subsequent amendment to the Quarantine Act. The test case in the Appeals court was won for Dixon’s client with a unanimous five-judge verdict.
He remains focused on transport, manufacturing, motor trade, engineering and large farm clients.
What are his plans for the future?
On a business level, “more of the same. I will continue to empower and encourage my staff to perform at their best as I have done for the last decade. I will continue to advocate for my clients, embracing new technology and being open to business and industry changes.”
On a personal level, Dixon invests significant time, effort and funds, along with his GT3, to support many charities through his passion for motorsport. From participating in and sponsoring the Thunderbolt Run (which provides tens of thousands of dollars in support for Beyond Blue and Prostate Cancer), to organising and running the Track Knights for Amira charity night where 28 Exotic Supercars raised funds through passenger laps in wet conditions, Dixon states “this is our time to give back to the community and those in need. My friendships and association with those seeking to do the same, allows us to contribute to those less fortunate and raise funds and awareness”.
He adds: “To be able to give back to the community is rewarding and fulfilling. I am honoured to be in a position where I can raise funds for those less fortunate and in need.”