Academic journal article New Zealand International Review

Professor Gordon Stewart Orr: 18 January 1926-16 March 2015

Academic journal article New Zealand International Review

Professor Gordon Stewart Orr: 18 January 1926-16 March 2015

Article excerpt

Members of the NZIIA were very saddened to learn of the death of Gordon Orr, who served as president from 1964 to 1968, a member of the Standing Committee and a longstanding honorary vice-president. His interest in international affairs had been sparked by the NZIIA's major international conference in Palmerston North in January 1959, of which he was the organising secretary.

Gordon's funeral service was at Te Herenga Waka Marae, Victoria University of Wellington. One of his successors as president, I spoke at the funeral and the following tribute consists of extracts from that eulogy and draws on the eulogy given by Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie

Gordon Orr completed both a BA and an LLM at Victoria University, a most unusual combination 60 plus years ago. In the course of that study he undertook research on social policy legislation for a triumvirate of professors, including R.O. McGechan and EL.W. Wood. In Shakespeare's terms, Gordon played many parts, private and public. I will refer to four public parts--as legal practitioner, as public service administrator, as academic and as a member of the Waitangi Tribunal.

Gordon provides an excellent example of the value of those who use and develop their talents across a range of apparently different tasks. The whole, it has often been said, is other than the sum of its parts. Readers will be able to think of others providing such an example. A daughter of one of them, as you may have heard recently, said to her father 'Dad, can't you hold down a job?'

As a practitioner, Gordon was first in private practice in a leading Wellington firm, Young, Bennett, Virtue and White. He was then, for twelve years, one of a very strong group of lawyers recruited to the Crown Law Office by Richard Wild, who, as solicitor general, revitalised that office. Others in that group he recruited were Richard Savage and Ivor Richardson, both also sadly no longer with us. Crown Law with that leadership and talent became again what many have referred to as the best law firm in the country, as it should be, given the range of its work and its responsibilities.

Gordon had extensive experience as counsel, as senior Crown counsel, both before a wide range of tribunals, including the Trade Practices Commission, the Licensing Control Commission, the Local Government Commission and numerous Commissions of Inquiry and before the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council, addressing administrative law, criminal appeals, taxation, valuation and mining.

After those 20 years in legal practice, Gordon began to play the second of the four parts, as a senior administrator in the public service. …

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