Key Personnel

Mai Chen








Mai Chen is the Managing Partner of Chen Palmer New Zealand Public and Employment law Specialists, Australasia’s first specialist public law firm which she co-founded in 1994. Mai is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Auckland School of Law; a Director on the Board of BNZ; Founder and Chair of New Zealand Asian Leaders; Founder and Chair of Superdiversity Centre for Law, Policy and Business; Inaugural Chair, NZ Global Women; and Co-founder, Cultural Bridge, a joint venture between Chen Palmer and NZME. Mai was a top 10 finalist for the 2014 New Zealander of the Year Awards.

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Marina Matthews

Special Counsel







Marina has over fourteen years experience providing legal and public policy advice on a range of issues.

Marina has a LLB and Diploma for Graduates in Arts from the University of Otago, and was admitted to the Bar in 2002. Marina joined the public service, firstly with the Transition Tertiary Education Commission, then the Tertiary Education Commission. She was seconded to Parliament as the tertiary education private secretary for four senior Ministers of the Crown. She then moved back to the Tertiary Education Commission as a Senior Manager.

In private practice, Marina has significant experience in advising institutes of technology and polytechnics, industry training organisations, universities, wananga and private training establishments as well as early childhood education services, schools and students’ associations.

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Carol Anderson

Senior Associate







Carol combines skills from a background in law and education. Following a successful career in secondary teaching in New Zealand and overseas, she qualified as a lawyer in 2005 and has worked in commercial and civil litigation and public law.

Carol rejoins Chen Palmer after working more recently as a consultant governance and management adviser to schools and boards of trustees, in both state and state integrated schools. Carol has worked for the Education Review Office, is a trained mediator, and has been involved with the Kohanga Reo movement.

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Zong-Pei Zhao

Special Counsel








Zong-Pei grew up in Hong Kong.  His family migrated to New Zealand in the late 1990s.  Proficient in both Chinese Mandarin and Chinese Cantonese, Zong-Pei has been involved in international relations for the Wellington City Council since 2004 – hosting overseas Chinese delegations, translating and interpreting (including simultaneous interpretation) in official occasions, advising the Wellington Mayor on cultural and diplomatic matters, co-leading Mayoral delegations to North Asia, and connecting Kiwi businesses with opportunities in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Vietnam.

Zong-Pei was also a civil servant at various central government entities for over 10 years before joining the private sector. He has a solid understanding of the machinery of government and has experience in the areas of building and construction law, criminal law, education law, immigration rules, evaluation, public policy, official information, courts management and international relations.

Outside work, Zong-Pei is a life member of the New Zealand Chinese Writers Association, a division of the World’s Chinese Writers Association, where membership is by invitation only. He is also a keen musician and plays a number of instruments.

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Anmol Shankar

Senior Associate






For the majority of his time in practice, Anmol has been involved in providing advice to employers regarding employment relations issues. He has expertise in employment law, industrial relations, and health and safety. Through his experience  providing advice to employers regarding employment law, it has become manifestly clear to him how bias can affect employment-related decisions. From recruitment, to making decisions regarding promotions, or deciding to take disciplinary action, bias—and in particular unconscious bias—can influence an employer’s decision-making in a way that breaks the law and prevents the company getting the best talent for the role.

The knowledge he has acquired regarding unconscious bias during his time working, supplemented his personal experience. He was born in New Zealand, but his parents migrated to New Zealand from Fiji. He is of Fijian-Indian decent and has been brought up by a family proud of their cultural heritage. Through this experience, he has gained significant insight into unconscious bias and how to make people conscious of its impact. He also has high CQ due to his own cultural background as a bridge between the kiwi culture and his Fijian-Indian ethnicity.

Anmol will be a part of the team undertaking CQ, subconscious bias and Asia capability training for the Superdiversity Centre.

Katja Heesterman

Intermediate Associate






Katja has a LLB (Hons) from Victoria University of Wellington and was admitted to the Bar in 2017. Her main interests are core public law and human rights.  Katja has been with Chen Palmer since June 2016. During that time she has assisted with CQ audits and been involved in some of the Superdiversity Centre’s writing work.

Chloé-Rose Barakat-Devine







Chloé-Rose has a BA/LLB from the University of Canterbury, and was admitted to the Bar in 2014. She is from an Irish-Lebanese family and has experience working in culturally and linguistically diverse environments. Prior to joining Chen Palmer, Chloé-Rose spent time overseas working with people from a range of different countries at the United Nations before returning to New Zealand to work as an immigration lawyer.