Local History

Moore Stephens Markhams Hawkes Bay has a proud history of serving the needs of our region’s business community.

A potted history follows, or for a fuller read see below.

1912    Lawrence Ackworth Denton established the original accounting firm L.A. Denton in Hastings.

1936    Owen Ackworth Denton joined in partnership with his father and the firm became L.A. Denton & Denton.

1954    Bryan Mackay joined the firm as a clerk and studied by correspondence and evening lectures, before qualifying in 1956. He became a partner in 1961 and the firm became Denton, Denton & Mackay.

1962    Paddy Donovan joined the firm and became a partner in 1968.

1969    Eric Anderson and his son Gerald were amalgamated with Denton Denton & Mackay and the firm became Denton, Anderson, Mackay & Donovan. Sadly Gerald passed away in 1976 and Eric in 1977.

1970    Basil Brooker joined the firm and became a partner in 1975.

1973    Ewan Mathew (Tui) Morrison joined the firm. He retired in 1982 in accordance with the firm practice of a 65 year retiring age, however carried on as a consultant until 1985.

1973    Richard Kale joined the firm on suggestion from Tui, for whom he had been working, and became a partner in 1977.

1977    Owen Denton retired at age 65.

1978    Ernie Williams joined the firm; he had qualified in 1975 and became a partner of the firm in 1981.

1986    Bryan Mackay resigned from the practice and the firm’s name was changed to Denton Donovan.

1992    Richard Wimsett joined the firm and became an associate in 1994.

1994    A Napier office of the firm opened and operated until 1999.

1996    Dan Druzianic joined the firm and became an associate in 1998 and a partner in 2000.

2000    Following new NZICA rules, the firm changed to a limited liability company. The first directors were Paddy Donovan, Dan Druzianic and Basil Brooker. A separate entity under the name of Denton Donovan Audit was also established with Basil as its first principal.  This was subsequently renamed as Hawke’s Bay Audit after the New Zealand network joined Moore Stephens International Limited. Basil retired in 2012, and his practice was purchased by audit partners from the Wellington Audit firm, also part of the Moore Stephens New Zealand network.  In 2017, the local audit practice was sold to its manager, Graeme Harvey, who reverted to the business name Hawke’s Bay Audit and exited the Markhams network.

2002    Hamish Pringle joined the firm and became a director in 2004.

2004    Joined the Markhams MRI national network of independent firms.

2005    Gwen Rurawhe joined Markhams MRI and became an owner in 2007.

2006    Barry Rosenberg joined the firm after nearly 20 years as a sole practitioner.

2008    Rebranded as Markhams.

2009    Andrew Kirkpatrick joined the firm.

2010    Markhams joined Moore Stephens International Limited. Restructured as Markhams Hawkes Bay Limited.

2013    Changed name to Moore Stephens Markhams Hawkes Bay Limited.

2014   Hawke’s Bay Moore Stephens Markhams merged with Howard Padman Chartered Accountants Limited and retained its Havelock North office. Alan Bartlett, a partner with Howard Padman, joined as a director. Hamish Pringle joined Alan in the Havelock North office until 2017, when the full team moved to the Hastings Business HQ office.

2015   Mark Knofflock joined the firm as a director, based in Hastings.

2016   Moved to purpose-built offices as part of the Business HQ, 308 Queens Street East, Hastings. Bryant Associates merged and Gerard Bryant became a consultant.

2017   Barry Rosenberg resigned as a director after a decade with the firm but continued on as a consultant.  Andrew Kirkpatrick retired from the firm to join a client’s management team and Ben Gilmour, who joined the firm in 2011, was promoted to director.

Proud history serving Hawke’s Bay

Lawrence Ackworth Denton qualified as an accountant in 1911 and moved to Hastings with his family to start a practice. Prior to moving he held positions with Levin & Company, General Merchants, in both Masterton and Wellington.

In 1912 Hastings was a small town; his fellow practitioners were McCulloch, Butler & Spence, RD Brown and John Fraser. Lawrence was told by a legal colleague, E H Williams, “It will take 10 years for them to accept you, Denton.”

While Lawrence had the usual struggles to become established, particularly because of the small community, descendants of some of his earliest clients still remain with the firm today. His early clients included Hastings Bakery (Findlays), Wilson Nurseries, H B Fruitgrowers (a first step of James Wattie towards his multi-million dollar company) and Victoria Insurance (now taken over by NZ Insurance Co.).

Through the late Mason Chambers, Lawrence became secretary of the Onekaka Iron & Steel Co. Limited and Mount Burnett Limited, both situated in Golden Bay.

For some years he was the Hawke’s Bay representative on the Council of the New Zealand Society of Accountants.

During most of his professional career, Lawrence occupied offices on the first floor of the Herald Tribune Building, on the corner of Queen Street and Karamu Road. It was badly damaged in the Hawke’s Bay’s 1931 Earthquake, so the offices were removed and Lawrence practiced from home for a time before moving into Queen Street premises owned by J J Faulknor, a dentist, opposite the former Post Office (now Hastings Health Centre).

It has been said that the J J Faulknor’s building was very cold. The office was heated by a most inefficient gas heater and on cold mornings Lawrence would sit at his desk with hat on head, great coat, mittens and a rug over his legs. A senior clerk, Una McKay, very daringly asked if the staff could have morning tea as a means of keeping out the cold. This was agreed to but not afternoon tea, and any food had to be provided by its consumer.

Owen Denton joined his father in partnership in 1936. He had been employed with the large accountancy firm of Watkins Hull Wheeler & Johnston in Wellington. As was the practice back then, and still is to some extent, study was often undertaken in the young accountant’s own time. Owen completed his qualifications through evening study at Banks Commercial College whilst he was working in Wellington.

It was a struggle for Lawrence during World War II as Owen spent three years in the army. He carried on as best as he could.

Bryan J Mackay joined the firm in 1954 as a clerk, from the firm of Laws Dane & Laws, and completed his studies by correspondence and evening lectures at the local High School. Bryan was allowed the odd half day off for study on the half day prior to an examination. He became a Partner in 1961 and the firm again changed its name, to Denton, Denton & Mackay.

In 1960 a building was bought opposite the County Club in Queen Street and remodelled as offices. This was occupied until 1969 when, because of a need for more space, a move was made to the premise at 115N King Street. In 1999, the firm moved to its present premises at 405 King Street North.

Towards the end of Lawrence’s life, both Owen and Bryan were working long hours, in fact they had had no holidays for four or five years. It was at this time that Paddy Donovan came on board. He had been employed in various accounting offices and had spent time in England. He was also a boxing competitor at two Empire and two Olympic games. Paddy became a partner in 1968.

Not long after this, Eric Anderson and his son Gerald approached the firm about an amalgamation. Eric sought amalgamation because he was approaching retirement. The amalgamation took place in 1969, with the name changing to Denton, Anderson, Mackay & Donovan.

Unfortunate circumstances did not see this partnership lasting long. In 1976 Gerald went into hospital for a minor nose operation and did not survive. Eric passed away in 1977, only three years after his retirement.

Basil Brooker joined the firm in 1970, from the electrical wholesaling firm of J G Seton & Co where he had been the accountant. Basil remained associated with Markhams, though operating independently as Hawke’s Bay Audit, which he retired from in 2012, selling to audit partners from the Wellington Moore Stephens audit firm.  In 2017, the local audit practice was sold to its manager, Graeme Harvey, who reverted to the business name Hawke’s Bay Audit and exited the Markhams network.

Ewan Mathew (Tui) Morrison had been in partnership with Stanley Edwin Murley for many years as insurance agents (State Fire) and accountants. In 1973 when State Fire decided to operate its own branch, Tui approached the firm about joining and bringing his clients with him. Tui suggested Robert Kale, a clerk working with him, join the firm also when the amalgamation occurred. This was successful, Robert became qualified in 1975 and then a partner in 1977. Tui retired in 1982 in accordance with the firm practice of a 65 year retiring age but carried on in an advisory capacity until 1985.

Retirement came for Owen in 1975 when he turned 65. In 1978, Ernie Williams joined the firm, he retired from the partnership in 1998 when he moved to Australia to pursue other business interests. When Bryan Mackay resigned in 1986, the firm’s name was changed to Denton Donovan.

In 1996, Dan Druzianic joined the firm as an associate and progressed to partnership in 2000. Dan became National Chairman for the Markhams New Zealand group in 2008 until 2011.

Following new NZICA rules, the firm changed to a Limited Liability Company in 2000. The first Directors were Paddy Donovan, Dan Druzianic and Basil Brooker. A separate entity under the name of Denton Donovan Audit was also established with Basil as its first Principal.

Hamish Pringle joined the firm in 2002, followed by Gwen Rurawhe in 2005 and Barry Rosenberg in 2006. Barry had been a sole practitioner for nearly 20 years. In 2004, the firm joined the national network of Markhams MRI. Markhams MRI rebranded as Markhams in 2008, then joined Moore Stephens in 2010.

Locally, the firm restructured in 2010 as Markhams Hawkes Bay Ltd, and in 2013, rebranded as Moore Stephens Markhams Hawkes Bay Ltd.

In 2014, Moore Stephens Markhams Hawkes Bay merged with Howard Padman Chartered Accountants Limited, a Havelock North practice with 26 years’ experience advising local business. Howard remained as a consultant on a part-time basis, while his colleague Alan Bartlett became a director of the combined firm. Alan was joined in the Havelock North office by Hamish Pringle.  Howard retired fully in 2016 and the team moved to the Hastings Business HQ office in 2017.

Mark Knofflock joined the firm in 2015 as a director, based in the Hastings office.

In 2016, the firm’s Hastings office moved to purpose-built offices on the former Bay Ford site on the corner of Queen and Hastings Streets, Hastings, joining other complementary business services firms as part of Business HQ. At this point, the team from Bryant Associates joined, following a merger of the two firms, effective 1 January 2016. Gerard Bryant became a consultant.

In anticipation of the move, the firm had digitised client records over an 18 month period and as a consequence, the need for storage space was greatly reduced. This enabled emphasis to be given to ensuring the building was 100 percent-plus of the Building Code, and by not paying for storage space, the new premise was planned for productivity and affordability.

In early 2017, Barry Rosenberg resigned his directorship yet continued providing consultancy services to the firm’s clients, particularly in his specialist field of succession planning.  After working for much of the previous year for client Rod McDonald Wines, Andrew Kirkpatrick resigned as director to take on the role of its commercial manager. Ben Gilmour, who had joined the firm in 2011 and developed his expertise in rural business and specialist rural accounting software options, became a director.

The firm’s directors are Dan Druzianic, Hamish Pringle, Barry Rosenberg, Alan Bartlett, Mark Knofflock and Ben Gilmour. Gwen Rurawhe is CEO of the firm and owner alongside Dan Druzianic, Hamish Pringle and Mark Knofflock.

Owen Denton provided the early history of the firm, followed by Basil Brooker.

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