James & Wells intellectual property partner, Tonia Brugh, weaves her Pasifika background and culture into her unique way of working with her clients.
Tonia is a dual qualified trade mark and intellectual property specialist, with over 20 years of domestic and international experience advising clients in this area.
Based in the James & Wells Tauranga office, Tonia also has significant experience in the entertainment and IT sectors, including a unique perspective given her working with some of the largest US media technology companies such as Apple Corp, Warner Bros. and Google across their UK and European matters before bringing her significant expertise to the Bay of Plenty.
Tonia also offers IP expertise in indigenous rights, privacy and data protection and sovereignty as well as commercial contracts. She focuses on long-term connection and authentic relationship building, placing people and connection at the forefront of everything she does. Tonia walks with her clients for their whole journey – she works to empower her clients to succeed on their own merit and supports them along the way. Tonia’s aim is to build a foundation of understanding and an opportunity of empowerment without always having clients being worried about legal costs.
Tonia is passionate about youth mentoring and facilitates free workshops for students at schools in the IP/creative space, including educating in the protection of taonga such as carvings, waiata, and weaving, ensuring future generations of Māori and Pasifika have the tools they need to protect their creative work.
She works with Rangitira and youth via talks and workshops to show that there are multiple options when considering careers. Tonia wants to empower communities to see that there is a place for everyone across multiple professions: especially law. She is working hard to change the perception of “lawyering”, and that you don’t have to change your value set in order to be a successful lawyer. Tonia shows young people that it is possible to be a successful lawyer by weaving culture and working together.
Tonia also assists a number of Māori Boards in a pro-bono capacity, including supporting Te Aka Māori Dictionary and working with Māori owned television and content company Long White Cloud Productions. Tonia also co-chairs the Pacific Island Trust Bay of Plenty (PIC BOP) and supports a whole of family, wraparound service to community using Pacific models of care, which is turn creates pathways for our communities to thrive.
Tonia always lets her clients shine and take the lead to drive their projects and voice. She is very humble and takes a behind the scenes approach to client matters. You would not know that she guides, mentors and strategically advises a number of prominent international personalities, as she walks respectfully beside her clients and allows them to shine.
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