In the trailer for The Crown's season three, the actor playing Wallace Simpson tells Prince Charles: "If I may offer two pieces of advice - never turn your back on true love."
Prince Charles replies: "And the second?" Simpson tells him: "Never turn your back on your family."
"They mean well," he replies firmly.
Simpson replies fast, furious and quiet: "No they don't!"
Families fight. But who wins when wealthy or prominent family members go to war with each other and what lessons are there for us lesser mortals?
So much is at stake in such disputes. Fortunes, reputations and power can shift in the blink of an eye. Often, fights stay within the families and we never know. Only when things get really serious and the courts are involved do we all get to hear all about it.
To save you the angst of remembering, we rekindle some of the more high-profile down-and-dirty kiwi dog-eat-dog fights. Brace yourself. Love your family. You only ever get one.
The wealthy Erceg family are the latest to feature but there are so many more in corporate life in this country. Here is a list of other New Zealand families who either fought or else one member's actions were so astonishing that they hit the headlines and changed everyone's view.
• Feuding Kiwi families heading to TV
• Two-year feud over Jonah Lomu's grave could be nearing end
• Melbourne on edge as families' feud turns violent
• Jill Goldson: When friends and family don't like your partner
Last month, the Herald reported how the matriarch of the wealthy Erceg family with liquor interests had left most of her assets to her "black sheep" son and no money to her surviving daughter. The will of Millie Erceg, who died in October aged 87, is the final chapter in a bitter and prolonged family feud over an estimated $1.6b fortune. Millie has left Ivan Erceg, a superyacht builder who went bankrupt in 2010, in control of her four family trusts and her assets, other than jewellery she has bequeathed to her other surviving child, Vinka, and grandchildren.
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In 2014, matriarch Elizabeth Huljich, then 84, said: "They are not my family any more." A $264,000 legal wrangle had blighted the clan. In 2018, court action ensued against sons Christopher and Michael and grandson Peter. At issue was a $486,000 loan of which $264,000 was claimed to be owed. But the men said they never agreed to give her unlimited financial support. By December of 2018, Justice Geoffrey Venning ruled none of her claims against the three men had succeeded. All were dismissed and the judge said the men were entitled to costs.
Philanthropist and multi-millionaire Irish-born Hugh Green spent his final months trying to pull together a family pulling itself apart. Green had a $400m fortune in land and farms but died in 2012. Then, the fight over his will ensued with a bitter public stoush between daughter Maryanne and her siblings after Green decided late in life to hand over the reins of his empire to eldest son John Green, his sister Frances Green and lawyer Mark Fisher. Maryanne successfully argued her father was vulnerable and under John's influence when he wrote a new will. In 2015 then-Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann ruled Green's will was invalid. Two years later, the family reached a binding settlement. Maryanne retired from both the Hugh Green Trust and the Hugh Green Property Trust, and she and her descendants received about 14 per cent of the trusts' assets. Another 10 per cent went to the Hugo Charitable Trust.
When the now-late Sir Doug Myers took over and transformed family business Lion Breweries, that prompted a bitter legal battle with some relatives. Once New Zealand's richest man, Myers worked his way up through Lion Nathan to build a personal fortune estimated years ago at $900m. But family members took court action against him in a high profile case, Coleman v Myers. The Herald reported how family shareholders argued he had not disclosed the true situation regarding the company and he had prior arrangements to sell assets above their disclosed values. Justice Peter Mahon decided in favour of Myers but on August 11, 1977 the Court of Appeal reversed the decision and found Myers guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation. The Court ordered Myers to pay an additional 45.8 per cent per share to former Campbell & Ehrenfried shareholders, plus interest. The decision was a huge blow to Myers, both financially and reputationally.
Back in 2006, businesswoman Diane Foreman was reported as being locked in a family feud with the children of her husband Bill Foreman, whose $130m fortune was via Trigon Plastics. Four offspring from Bill's earlier marriage in the 1950s and who were potential beneficiaries of the family trusts wanted information from trust documents. Bill and Diane Foreman separated last decade. He has since died and the family has tried to sell the home he lived in, referred to as the Chapple House at Thorne Bay on the North Shore. Diane Foreman, who was adopted, last year received Next magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award for paving the way for women in business.
The dispute between property developer Greg Olliver and ex-wife Sarah Sparks has been running for seven years. The couple was married for 12 years but she disclosed recently she had spent $2m defending herself in actions brought by Olliver personally or entities solely controlled by him in the courts. And it's not over yet. She said she had run out of money some time ago after borrowing from her father and has been representing herself for the last six years. Olliver is the high-profile developer who sold many properties to Todd Property including Stonefields, Long Bay and the Ngungaru Sandspit. The couple lived in a St Heliers property where a redevelopment scheme was so large that it was nicknamed Neverland.
There was no court action for the Williams family but a grim family secret was only revealed once-prominent now-late patriarch Sir Arthur Williams. He was a Wellington property supremo, friend of Sir Robert Muldoon, a multimillionaire who lived in Karori and built dozens of office blocks. But just two years ago son Brent Williams revealed a very different side of his family's life when he produced a book telling all: "There was every form of abuse, in different ways, in different forms, in different levels, but every form of violence was carried out," Brent Williams told the Herald, depicting in one drawing his father with an axe over a chopping block and his son shouting "you won't suck your thumb again will you?" Although in this case there was no legal action, Williams' revelations were a great surprise to many and showed.
Again no court action, but it was only last year that an apparent rift between Jonah Lomu's family and widow Nadene was laid to rest, so to speak. In 2016, Nadene Lomu had complained about removal of flowers, objects and dirt at Jonah Lomu's grave in the Manukau memorial Garden in South Auckland. Nadene said she had met Jonah Lomu's mother Hepi Lomu at the burial site. Her mother in law said it was her right to do what she would with it, Nadene said, although later Hepi Lomu told the Herald the wind had blown away items.
So at the end of these family stories, what are there lessons about family disputes? Who wins when so much is at stake? Could the ultimate and somewhat sad answer be no one?