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Paul Julian Treadwell OBE, QC (New Hebrides) 1930 - 2017

By Martin Treadwell

Former practitioner Paul Treadwell died on 15 March 2017 aged 86.

Paul Treadwell was born in Wellington in 1930 and joined the family firm, Treadwells in 1953. His father and grandfather were both lawyers in that firm, so being a lawyer was somewhat of a legal legacy. Paul left the family firm in 1963 to take up the post of Legal Secretary to the East African Common Services Organisation in Nairobi, Kenya.  

In 1968, he returned to New Zealand and ran the Crown Law office in Auckland until 1969, when he was appointed Legal Secretary to the British Residency in the New Hebrides. In 1973, he was appointed Attorney General of the New Hebrides. He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1975 and took silk in 1976. In his last years in the Pacific, he played an important role in the struggle to secure Vanuatu's independence - a step opposed by the joint French administration.

In 1977, Paul returned to New Zealand and set up private practice in Auckland.  From 1977-1980, he worked with Professor Alec Chloros, drafting the new Penal Code for Vanuatu, after which he joined the partnership of law firm Daniel, Overton and Goulding in Onehunga. It was there that he undertook general litigation but came to specialise in family law. He was also particularly sought after for his expertise as Counsel for the Child.

In 1985, Paul was appointed one of Auckland's first District Inspectors of Mental Health. At about the same time, he was also appointed by the British Government as Legal Adviser to the Governor for the Pitcairn group of islands.  In 1987, he was joined at law firm Daniel, Overton and Goulding by his son Martin. From 1992-1993, Paul served as a Councillor on the Auckland District Law Society.

In 1995, Paul 'retired' from practice and he and wife Charmian moved to Kerikeri to grow kiwifruit.  However, the Pitcairn work and the need for skilled Counsel for the Child in the far north of the country saw him pick up the reins again, and he continued in practice there until 2005. 

In 2002, he was invited to sign the Auckland District Law Society's Roll of Distinguished Practitioners.  Paul's role in relation to Pitcairn would result in his advice to the British Government on the Pitcairn sexual assault trial in 2004, for which he was also responsible for the nomination of both bench and bar.  One of his last acts in a legal capacity was to attend the appeal hearing before the Privy Council in London in 2006, where the convictions of the offenders were upheld.

Retiring again (really, this time), Paul and Charmian returned to Auckland and settled on Waiheke Island. They lived there until failing health necessitated a move back to Auckland.

Paul Treadwell was 86-years old and is survived by his wife, Charmian, their four children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and will be dearly missed.

Last updated on the 20th March 2017