Son graduates with same degree as Dad

01 September 2017
Associate Professor Gehan (left) and son, Darren Gunasekara

Darren Gunasekara has graduated with a conjoint Bachelor of Law and Arts from the University of Auckland - exactly the same undergraduate degree as his father, Gehan Gunasekara, who is now an Associate Professor of Commercial Law in the University’s Business School.

The son, who has lived in Ellerslie all his life and now works at a leading employment law firm Kiely Thompson Caisley, never expected to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“I initially wanted to be a pilot, and study engineering and/or music. I've played multiple instruments since I was four, and love hands-on things,” says Darren, 23. “But in my last years of school, I discovered I very much enjoyed arguing and expressing myself, even about things I didn't have much interest in. My school studies went along the lines of English and History and away from the sciences and I sort of fell into law.”

Says Gehan: “I had mixed feelings at first, as I knew Darren had a knack for fixing things and thought he would follow engineering as a career. However I am pleased he has found an area of legal practice he is passionate about.”

In spite of himself, Gehan had influenced his son’s legal turn, Darren says. “He sparked my ability to take an interest in wider issues, and being a lawyer and academic, to think deeply about them. He claims he wanted me to stay as far away from law as possible, but his passion for all things legal rubbed off on me and meant that this was unlikely to happen.”

It also seems to have rubbed off on Darren’s younger sister, Caitlin, who is studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing and Commercial Law at the University of Auckland.

Darren’s mother, Aruni, is the only one without a legal bent – she works at a local school. “Which probably makes the fact that my dad, my sister and I are all involved in the law even more of a pain to deal with over dinner!” says Darren.



Nicola Shepheard Media Adviser
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