Born in Whanganui to teenage parents in 1969, Greg’s father worked as a shearer and a meat packer in the freezing works in the off-season. The family lived in a state house.
In 1975 the family moved to Turangi when his father gained employment as a prison officer. The move also represented a return to the family’s tribal whenua, ko te Ngati Tuwharetoa.
All of Greg’s schooling was in Turangi. He attended Tongariro High School from Forms 1 to 7. He was Head Boy Prefect in 1987. Greg participated in numerous sports, including boxing, rugby, badminton and cricket.
World Expo 88
In early 1988 after a rigorous selection process Greg was chosen to be one of 32 young New Zealanders to represent New Zealand as a host at the NZ Pavilion at World Expo 88 in Brisbane Australia. The theme of the NZ pavilion was ‘NZ through the eyes of youth’ and all schools and youth groups in NZ were invited to nominate one ‘outstanding all-rounder’ for the position. Greg was nominated by Tongariro High School. He was in Brisbane for the full six month duration of the World Expo and a month before and after. The World Expo attracted more than 18 million visitors from all over the world and Greg relished his role representing NZ both to the public at large as well as one on one with the numerous VIP visitors to the Expo, including World leaders and heads of state, through to entertainment industry ‘stars’ and sporting personalities. In his spare time Greg took flying lessons to the point where he was flying solo.
University College & Otago
On returning to NZ, Greg commenced his legal studies at the University of Otago in 1989. In that same year he was appointed to the Welfare Staff of University College (Unicol), Dunedin’s largest Hall of Residence. He remained on the Welfare Staff at Unicol for the duration of his university studies and was the College Law Tutor for three years (annually tutoring more than 80 first year law students, both individually and collectively).
Greg’s law degree covered a broad range of papers, including company and commercial law, intellectual property law, international law and of course criminal law. His non law papers included history, English literature and philosophy. Greg was awarded a University of Otago Award in Law for 1992 and won a scholarship to pursue post-graduate studies, but elected instead to go into practise. He was admitted to the bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in the High Court at Dunedin (Justice Hansen presiding) in May 1993.
Employed Barrister (Judith Ablett-Kerr QC)
After being admitted to the bar, Greg took a position with leading criminal defence barrister Judith Ablett-Kerr in Dunedin. Over the next three years they worked together on some of the country’s most complex criminal cases, a highlight being the two trials of Dr Vicky Calder a microbiologist accused of poisoning with the compound acrylamide her former partner, internationally respected plant scientist Professor David Lloyd. The case is still regarded as the most forensically complex criminal cases in NZ history. More than 20 expert scientific witnesses, most from overseas, gave evidence in the trials. In preparation for the case Greg was required to travel to the United Kingdom to locate and work with defence expert witnesses in Manchester, Leicester (Medical Research Council) and London (forensic hair analysis expert). The first trial ended sensationally with a hung jury. Dr Calder was eventually acquitted on all charges at her second trial. This case was one of the first in NZ where media were permitted cameras in court to film the proceedings.
After three years of working together on literally hundreds of cases, during which time Mrs Ablett Kerr was appointed a Queen’s Counsel, Greg left to commence practice on his own account in Wellington as a barrister sole.
After leaving her employment Greg has continued to work with Judith on some cases, including that of Peter Ellis and most recently the highly controversial trial of Dr Clayton Weatherston, convicted of murdering Sophie Elliott.
In 1996 Greg commenced practice as a barrister sole in Wellington. The move to Wellington was prompted by his then fiancée Catherine, obtaining a graduate position with accountancy firm Ernst & Young in the city. Catherine had obtained her degrees in law and commerce at the University of Otago, graduating that year. In her three years with the firm (including two secondments to Luxembourg), Catherine obtained her CA status as well as being admitted to the bar. In 2000 Catherine resigned to commence employment as a barrister in Greg’s practice.
In addition to Catherine Milnes-King, Greg now also employs recent law graduate Liam Collins.
They practise out of Denning Chambers in Lower Hutt, which also accomodates a number of other independent lawyers. The premises are light, airy and spacious and feature art from Greg and Catherine’s extensive collection.