The Aitken Roots

The firm was founded by Thomas Ryan, known as ‘TJ’ or ‘Honest Tom’ in 1914. Thomas was the auditor and accountant for Tatua dairy company.

Thomas Ryan was a councillor of the Morrinsville Borough Council. Thomas met Bob Aitken through work as Thomas was the secretary of the Sunny Park Dairy Company and Bob, a qualified accountant working in Hamilton, had the job of auditing the Dairy Company.


Very few people paid income tax as, at this time you had to earn more than £300 a year before tax was levied, so only about 12,000 out of 700,000 paid tax

In 1921 the tax rate for high earners rose sharply, from 7% to 44%.

It was during the 1920’s to 1930’s that New Zealand taxed companies directly, and at higher rates than many other countries.

In 1950 Bob Aitken came to Morrinsville and formed a partnership with Thomas Ryan. This firm was known as Ryan and Aitken and they worked out of the offices above Echlins Booksellers, which is now Sportsworld. At this time Stuart Shepherd (Tui) and John Doube were also accountants in town and their firms later became part of our history.


During the Second World War low income earners paid 12.5% tax but higher income earners faced a top rate of 90%. In 1949 this reduced to 76.5%


Thomas Ryan died in 1959, leaving Bob Aitken in practice alone. Bob moved offices and was upstairs in the Laurie Jenkins Building in Thames Street (now above Gayles). Later, in 1964, he built new premises on the corner of Allen and Studholme Streets and this was in conjunction with Tom Brake, Solicitors. In 1960 Bob Aitken introduced a new partner, Michael Waddell, and this partnership lasted 12 years.

In 1958 PAYE was introduced and tax was deducted fortnightly from pay packets. This was also the year that company dividends commenced being taxed and taxes doubled on beer, cigarettes and petrol.



Rodney Aitken became a partner in 1981 and the firm was known as R & RM Aitken.