Ian Blackman

LLB, Victoria University of Wellington 1977


07 343 1620
Ian’s v-card

Ian’s diverse career experience includes employment with the Treasury, the Department of Inland Revenue, the Department of Labour and the Rural Banking & Finance Corporation.

In the early 1980s, Ian was the lending manager of the Rural Bank in Rotorua and in 1985 he moved into private practice in Rotorua.  He utilised his rural banking background to build a strong rural client base.

Ian specialises in commercial rural legal work.  A significant aspect of his work now involves legal structures, estate planning and succession planning for farming families.

Ian speaks publicly to groups of farmers and professionals, including the BNZ Farmers Conference in Rotorua, the Large Herds Conference in Christchurch and most recently the Succession Planning Summit at Massey University.

Ian has written a book on trusts and succession planning entitled “Keeping Farming in the Family – a guide to farm succession”.  The book is an indispensable guide for farming families who are interested in creating a workable succession plan.  For more information or to order a copy of “Keeping Farming in the Family” please contact our offices.


Chris Spargo

LLB, University of Waikato 1997


07 343 1629
Chris’s v-card

Chris was born and bred in Waihi and both of his parents were raised on dairy farms.  He graduated from the University of Waikato in 1997 and in 2003 formed the partnership of BlackmanSpargo with Ian Blackman.  He has practiced in the rural sector for twenty years.

In 2011, Chris attended the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme, a course designed to develop emerging agribusiness leaders.  He chaired the 2014 New Zealand Law Society Rural Law Conference and presented a paper on Fonterra at that conference again in 2017.

He was also appointed to the Geyser Community Foundation Board of Trustees in 2014, a foundation designed for the purpose of ensuring charitable gifts are managed as originally intended for the chosen charity or the benefit of the Rotorua and Taupo communities.

In his spare time Chris enjoys all sports, family time and supporting his motorsporting son, as a mechanic, in his karting.


Sandy Van Den Heuvel

LLB Hons, University of Waikato 2010


07 343 9709
Sandy’s v-card

Sandy grew up in Rotorua and attended Rotorua Girls’ High School.  On leaving school, she worked for a local law firm and completed her legal executive certificate.  She worked with Ian Blackman for many years as a Registered Legal Executive.  Ian encouraged her to do a law degree.

In 2010 Sandy graduated with a Bachelor of Laws with first class honours from Waikato University.

Sandy has first hand experience in farming matters having owned a farm locally.  With most of her family now grown she has downsized but still lives rurally on a small lifestyle block.


Rachel Petterson

LLB, University of Waikato 2010
NZ Diploma in Business, Waiariki Institute of Technology


07 343 9707
Rachel’s v-card

Rachel’s home is Rotorua.  After leaving Rotorua Girls’ High School, she worked full-time as an accounts executive while studying at Waiariki Institute of Technology to gain a diploma in business.

Rachel has been with BlackmanSpargo since its inception in 2003.  Until 2010, Rachel worked as a legal assistant with the firm before qualifying as a solicitor, gaining her degree from Waikato University.

Rachel has presented to local farming groups on rural issues.  Her specialities are rural and commercial transactions.  A large component of this work involves legal structures and estate and succession planning for many kinds of rural operations, including dairying, forestry and orcharding.  Rachel also assists clients with obtaining consent from the Overseas Investment Office.