Janine Stewart

Partner Kaiurungi

Janine is a specialist construction, property, and projects disputes lawyer. A sought-after industry commentator and adviser, she is passionate about shaping the construction industry and legal landscape in New Zealand.

Janine acts mainly for principals and consultants, but also advises other participants in the construction and property industry. Her clients include Metlifecare and Generus Living (major New Zealand retirement village owners and operators) and international corporations such as AECOM.

She has particular experience in project disputes and arbitration, having led a number of arbitrations of significant complexity. Janine regularly acts on matters relating to defective buildings and advises on landlord and tenant obligations and contentious rent review disputes. As well as being a seasoned litigator, Janine assists with risk management, aiming to identify and resolve issues before they escalate.

Known for her pragmatic approach, Janine adopts either litigation and/or dispute resolution to achieve a commercially effective outcome for her clients. She excels at navigating complex construction disputes of significant quantum and managing large teams of lawyers and experts. She regularly appears in various dispute forums, including mediation, arbitration, and defended hearings and trials in the High Court and Court of Appeal. Janine also brings governance experience to her work, including in her role as former Chair of Mercy Ships New Zealand from 2017-2022.

Recipient of the Resene Women in Property Award in 2017, Janine is also recognised in major legal directories for her construction expertise. Clients praise Janine’s “excellent understanding of the subject matter” – Chambers Asia-Pacific 2022. She is described as "very smart and very capable, balancing this with very good commercial pragmatism," and "very client-centric and very keen to ensure that what she is doing meets and exceeds expectations" - Chambers Asia-Pacific 2021.

Janine is actively engaged in thought leadership on issues impacting the property and construction industry. She contributes to several publications, presents widely on complex construction and property issues, and lectures on construction law at both the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology. She has served on the Construction Sector Accord Steering Group (2019-2022), and the New Zealand Government’s Building Advisory Panel (as the sole legal appointee) (2017-2022).

Career highlights

Advising Metlifecare in complex High Court proceedings, involving claims of negligence and breaches of the Fair Trading Act 1986 and Consumer Guarantees Act 1993. Resulting in a confidential settlement on the doorstep of a 29-week trial. Had it proceeded to trial it would have been the second longest trial in New Zealand’s history.

Acting for Rau Paenga (formerly Ōtākaro) on all aspects of its involvement in the New Zealand Government’s major capital rebuild programme as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

Acting for HVAC/mechanical services provider, Spotless, in a dispute relating to the Commercial Bay project in Auckland’s CBD.

Advising a multinational engineering firm regarding services it provided as part of the Hobsonville Public Private Partnership (PPP) Schools project, Kiwirail rail and bridge project, and the Christchurch rebuild following the Canterbury earthquakes. This client played a central role in the rebuild providing quantity surveyor and engineering services for hundreds of damaged properties and buildings.

Advising Generus Living Group regarding its retirement village developments in Auckland and Tauranga, with combined value of over $500 million, including the recently launched and commenced ‘Foundation’ premium development in Auckland.

Representing an international car manufacturer in an arbitration to determine the fair annual rent of its flagship New Zealand car dealership premises in Auckland for the next seven years.

  • Trustee, Mercy Ships NZ
  • Independent Director, Black Interiors
  • Member, Institute of Directors New Zealand
  • Member, Society of Construction Law New Zealand
  • Former Member, Building Advisory Panel, MBIE (2017-2022)
Achievements and recognition
  • Recognised, Construction, Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Band 1 team, Construction, Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Leading Individual, Construction, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific
  • Tier 1 team, Construction, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific
  • Recognised, Leading Construction, Projects and Infrastructure Lawyer, Doyles Guide
  • Recognised, Construction Law, Best Lawyers
  • Recognised, Elite Women List , NZ Lawyer, 2023
  • Winner, LexisNexis Young Private Practice Lawyer of the Year, New Zealand Law Awards, 2015
  • Winner, Resene Women in Property Award, 2017