ILANZ, In-House Lawyers Association of New Zealand


Andrew Cordner, Chief Legal Counsel at Te Whatu Ora

Andrew Cordner, Chief Legal Counsel at Te Whatu Ora

By Website Administrator , | August 28, 2023 at 8:53 AM

Andrew Cordner is swapping his role in the dairy industry for one helping the health system.

At the end of August, Fonterra’s Director of Legal takes the reins as Chief Legal Counsel at Te Whatu Ora.

“It’s something different and a huge challenge,” he says, “and a chance to contribute to the development of a system that cares for all New Zealanders”.

The career of the Canterbury-born, Auckland-based lawyer spans three decades. Educated at Canterbury University and the Duke University School of Law, he first joined Fonterra in 2007 and became Director of Legal in 2016, a career highlight that saw him leading a highly regarded legal team spread around the world.

Outside his day job, the father of three sits on the board of GNS Science, and is a member of the NZLS National Standards Committee. Andrew points to his 82-year-old father, who continues to work 40-plus-hour weeks, and says helping out others and keeping busy is in the family DNA.

While the decision to move on wasn’t easy, Andrew says Te Whatu Ora represents a unique opportunity.

“We are all going to be touched by the health system at some stage in our lives and this is the chance to contribute to the development of something significant, on a scale we rarely see. I’m excited to be playing my part in that.”

July 1 marked the first anniversary of Te Whatu Ora, the organisation leading the day-to-day running of New Zealand’s health system. It took the place of 20 former District Health Boards and several other entities with a focus on delivering an equitable, integrated and sustainable health service.

With his current legal team scattered across the world, Andrew placed emphasis on collaboration, creating a supportive culture, and personal development. They have gone on to win awards and become recognised as one of the highest performing teams at Fonterra. Andrew says he’s incredibly proud of that.

As Chief Legal Counsel at Te Whatu Ora, he intends to continue his focus on team culture, connection and development.

“That's the important thing. If people are really engaged in what they are doing in their roles, and care about the people that they work with, they are committed to support others to be better. And it's not just in the team you're in, but also the broader organisation. Once you've nailed that, gee, you're onto something good.”