Associate Professor Rod Thomas

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Phone: +64 9 921 9999 x 5821


Physical Address:
Law School
Room WY 506
Level 5, AUT Law School Building
120 Mayoral Drive
Auckland Central 1010
Postal Address:
Law School
Faculty of Business and Law
Auckland University of Technology
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142


  • BA/LLB (Auck)
  • LLM (First Class Hons) (Auckland)
  • LLM (Melbourne) 


Rod has some 30 years experience concerning land title and development issues. He started his legal experience as a legal officer and assistant land registrar at the Land Titles Office, Auckland in the early 1980s. For some 12 years he was then a property lawyer with one of New Zealand’s biggest law firms, specialising in advising developer clients. For a further 12 years he was a barrister sole at the Auckland bar, litigating and advising on land issues, co-ownership issues, and general land law disputes.

Research Areas:

  • Fraud concerning automated registration of land title dealings
  • Contract issues concerning sale of land
  • Cross lease and Unit Title issues
  • Remedial constructive trusts
  • Tracing at common law
  • Property title and land registration issues

Research Summary:


Contributing author, Leaky Buildings Crisis – Understanding the Issues (Thomson Reuters, Wellington, 2011)

Brookers Unit Titles Handbook 2011 with an analysis by Rod Thomas (Thomson Reuters Wellington, 2011)

T Bennion, D Brown, R Thomas and E Toomey New Zealand Land Law (2nd ed Reuters Thomson Wellington 2009)

Contributing author, D Grinlinton (ed) Torrens in the Twenty-first Century (ed Grinlinton, D) (LexisNexis Wellington 2003)

A Alston, T Bennion, M Slatter, R Thomas and E Toomey Guide to New Zealand Law, (2nd ed Reuters Thomson Wellington 2000)  

Contributing author, Brookers Land Law (loose-leaf, three vols.)


Matthew Barber & Rod Thomas “Contractual interpretation, registered documents and third party effects” (2014) 77(4) Modern Law Review 597. 

“Degraded unit title property rights – a judicial trend” (2013) 25 New Zealand Universities Law Review 1023

Rod Thomas, Roulshi Low and Lynden Griggs “Australasian Torrens Automation, Its Integrity, and the Three Proof Requirements” [2013] New Zealand Law Review 715

“Knowing Receipt Reasoning Imposed for a Torrens Title Regime” [2013] Restitution Law Review 93

“Property Rights and the UTA” Unit Titles Intensive 2013 (2013, New Zealand Law Society CLE Ltd, Wellington).

“Berachan and Unit Titles” [2013] New Zealand Law Journal 211 

“Tisch and the winter of discontent: a reply” (2012) 18 New Zealand Business Law Quarterly 163

“Bodies Corporate; who can do what?” (2012) New Zealand Law Journal 243 

“Reduced Torrens Protection: New Zealand Law Commission Proposal for a New Land Transfer Act” [2011] New Zealand Law Review 715

“Schemes Following Destruction or Damage Under the New Zealand Unit Titles Regime” (2011) 17 New Zealand Business Law Quarterly 371

“Efficient Outcomes – Recovering the Cost of Damage to Common Property under New Zealand Unit Titles Legislation” (2010) 16 New Zealand Business Law Quarterly 373

“Encumbrance Instruments” [2010] New Zealand Law Journal 10

“Memoranda of Encumbrance” New Zealand Lawyer 11 December 2009, 14

“Misdescription misunderstood” [2009] New Zealand Law Journal 7

“Real Estate litigation in a tough market – for property lawyers and litigators” New Zealand Law Society Nationwide travelling CLE seminar published booklet (2009)

“Lingens v Martin and the Standard Form” [2008] New Zealand Law Journal 389

“Fifer, the Unit Titles Act and No. 8 Wire” [2006] New Zealand Law Journal 152

“Fraud, Risk and the Automated Register” NZ Conveyancing Law and Practice (May 2003)

“Compensation Issues and the Meaning of Section 85 of the RMA” (2002) 6 New Zealand Journal of Environmental Law, 255

“Enforcing Building Schemes against Torrens Titles” New Zealand Conveyancing Law and Practice (June 1999)

“Registered Instruments – comment on Apple Field v Hodge” (1998) 8 Butterworths Conveyancing Bulletin 16

“Land Covenants and Easements – protecting the dominant owner” NZ Conveyancing Law and Practice (July 1998)

“Duties and powers of a body corporate” [1998] New Zealand Law Journal 337

“Possible hazards of memoranda of encumbrance” (1997) 8 Butterworths Conveyancing Bulletin 1

“Alterations and additions to Cross Lease titles” (1994) 7 Butterworths Conveyancing Bulletin 13

“Land Transfer Fraud and Unregistered Interests” [1994] NZ Recent Law Review 218

“Cross leases and Unit Titles – Problems and Solutions” New Zealand Law Society Nationwide travelling CLE seminar published booklet (1994)

“Cross-leases and future development covenants” (1992) 6 Butterworths Conveyancing Bulletin 113

“Cross leases and competing mortgages” [1992] New Zealand Law Journal 117

Unpublished Conference Papers

Rod Thomas, Roulshi Low and Lynden Griggs “Electronic Conveyancing in Australia – is anyone concerned about security?” 12th Australasian Property Law Teachers Conference 2014 at Bond University, 17 – 19 July 2014

Rod Thomas, Tim Jones and John Greenwood “Horrors in 3D – Panel Discussion of unit title problems” Property Law Conference, New Zealand Law Society CLE Ltd, 23 and 24 June 2014, Te Papa, Wellington

“Automated Registration and Deferred Indefeasibility” ADLSi Property Pot Pourri 1, 8 May 2014, Ellerslie Convention Centre, Auckland

Rod Thomas and Thomas Gibbons “Judicial developments and trends emerging in New Zealand under the new Unit Titles Act 2010” Australasian College of Community Association Lawyers Conference 2014, 19-21 March 2014, Hilton Queenstown Resort, Queenstown

“A safe automated Torrens system – settling the design specifications” Paper delivered to Wolfson College Law Society, and invited Faculty members of the Law School, University of Cambridge, 5 February 2014, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge 

“Legal Rights – what Property Rights are being valued?” Bates Massey University Insurance Valuation Seminar 2013, Massey University, Albany, 22 August 2013

“In the line of Fire? Personal liability of the body corporate committee members” ADLSi Webinar Seminar, 25 Sept 2013 (Auckland District Law Society Inc) 

New Zealand “Law Society Unit Titles Intensive Seminar 2013,” Te Papa, Wellington

“The Far Side of the World – the “three key proof requirements” and automation of the Land Registers in New Zealand and Australia” CINDER Conference, Amsterdam, October 2011. 

L Griggs R Thomas and R Low “Stopping Fraud in an Electronic Environment” National University of Singapore, 11 July 2012.


“Powers, duties and discretions of Body Corporate Committees under the new Unit Titles Act” Auckland District Law Society Inc CLE Seminar (May 2012)

“Bodies corporate: powers, duties, delegations and discretions” New Zealand Tenancy Tribunal CLE Training Seminar- (November 2011).

“Hearing Disputes under the Unit Titles Act 2010 – Jurisdiction and Likely Issues” New Zealand Tenancy Tribunal CLE Training Seminar- (September 2010).

“Roller Coasters, Lingens v Martin and the REINZ/ADLS Agreement,” Auckland District Law Society CLE Seminar (May 2008)

“Lawyers, No. 8 Fencing Wire and the Unit Titles Act” Lexisnexis Property Advisers’ Conference paper, (April 2006)

“Building scheme covenants, enforcement, failures, pitfalls,” Auckland District Law Society CLE Seminar (1999)

“Cross leases and Unit Titles; An overview,” Legal Update Seminar Series, Law Faculty, University of Auckland (1999)

“Changes to the ADLS/REI Agreement for Sale and Purchase” New Zealand wide traveling CLE seminar undertaken on behalf of the Auckland District Law Society (1999)

“Scrutinising duties and powers of a body corporate,” Auckland District Law Society CLE Seminar (1998)

“Requisition and Compensation Rights under Clause 5 of the REINZ/ADLS Agreement,” Auckland District Law Society CLE Seminar (1998)

“Valuation issues for Unit Entitlement” Training Seminar delivered to Property Dept, University of Auckland (1992)

“A case for an honest title for density development,” Training Seminar delivered as CLE training to New Zealand Institute of Surveyors (1990)

“Future Development issues for Unit Titles and Cross leases,” Auckland District Law Society CLE Seminar (1987)

Known judicial citations

New Zealand Supreme Court
Property Ventures Investments Limited v Regalwood Holdings Limited [2010] 3 NZLR 231.

New Zealand Court of Appeal
Lihua v Body Corporate 36661 [2013] NZCA 630

Jackson Mews v Menere [2010] 2 NZLR 347

Property Ventures Investments Limited v Regalwood Holdings Limited [2009] NZLR 481

Anzco Foods Waitara Ltd v Affco NZ Ltd [2006] 3 NZLR 351

New Zealand High Court

Roke Realty Ltd v Malones Ltd [2013] NZHC 2520. 

Body Corporate 396711 v Sentinel Management Ltd [2012] NZHC 1957

Parihoa Farms v RDC High Court Auckland CIV 2009-404-537

Body Corporate 159626 v Min Holdings Ltd 2/7/10 Associate Judge Faire High Court Auckland CIV 2009-404-2852

Fraser & Ors v Body Corporate S63621 & Ors (2009) 10 NZPCR 674

Wu v Body Corporate 366611 (2009) 10 NZPCR 917

Collins v Ko (2007) 9 NZPCR 83

Walsh v Studd (2004) 5 NZPCR 1

Williams v Cammock 4/8/099 Penlington J, High Court Hamilton CP 48/99

Werder v Aitken 17/5/95, Blanchard J, High Court Auckland CP 399/93.

Wellington v Hickling 10/4/95, Master Thomson, High Court New Plymouth M19/95