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Dr George William Hinde, 1929 - 2014

By Sasha Borissenko

Emeritus Professor George Hinde passed away on 9 October 2014 after a short illness.

Born in Cheshire, England on 20 August 1929, George, together with his parents John and Louisa Hinde, moved to New Zealand in 1939. George was educated at Whangarei High School before he studied law at Auckland University where he would spend most of his academic career.

George was a law professor for Auckland University for 26 years between 1961 and 1987 and is remembered and celebrated for his “monumental contributions” as author and teacher of Land Law, Equity and Taxation.

In a tribute at George’s funeral, Professional Teaching Fellow Bernard Brown remembered George’s integrity, both personal and professional, his meticulous approach to every task, his caring for students and colleagues, and his rigour in scholarship.

“Woe betide anyone starting a sentence with 'however', for George was also a rigorous grammarian and stylist. If one heard a loud exclamation from George’s office it was most probably that a colleague had committed the sin of starting a sentence with 'however'.

“George put more rigour into his footnotes than many modern authors put into their entire text. Everything George wrote or said was precisely accurate. There was hardly a throwaway comma or word, let alone a stray dog metaphor.

“Puns were encouraged, but they had to be very good. Of an outwardly serious mien George could be extremely amusing. On the word 'however', George once remarked that sitting on two stools was little better than falling between them.”

Bernard spoke of a time where the governing body in the 1970s approached George hoping to attract him for selection to a Parliamentary seat, but George was no grandstander. Rather, he always stayed wary of the potential insolence of power, he said.

“The 1970s in academia - and specifically the law faculty in Auckland - were testing times in that regard. George did not waver nor did he hesitate at any time to support any student or colleague in difficulty.

“I can testify that he crossed the globe on my behalf on a delicate mission discreetly and without my direct request.”

Many generations of students have benefited from the thoroughness of his teaching and his examining, Bernard Brown said.

Friend and colleague Associate Professor Kenneth Palmer says George will be remembered for his quiet wit and boisterous laugh, as well as for his academic contributions.

In particular, George was a foundation member of the Law School while it transitioned from part-time to full-time study and an Auckland faculty of law spokesperson says he helped “shape the Auckland Law School as it is today”.

George was first appointed a Senior Lecturer in Law and after a fleeting year at Canterbury Law School as a professor, he returned to Auckland to take up the fourth professorial chair in 1968. He was awarded an LLD from Auckland University for his academic writings, about New Zealand Land Law, in 1981. George took up a position of Professor of Law at Bond University in Queensland for a number of years thereafter before returning to Auckland to practice as a barrister.

Bernard Brown said the Australian sun was no friend to George’s fair English complexion.

“I remember meeting with George at Bondi Beach in Sydney. He arrived in a three-piece suit. His only concession to the seaside venue was that his suit was blue.”

Over the years George worked at a number of universities, including the University of Melbourne, Australian National University and Queen Mary College, University of London.

LexisNexis NZ Ltd Executive Director Rachel Travers says she was privileged to share precious moments with George this year, celebrating his 50th anniversary as an esteemed author with LexisNexis.

“I’ve worked with many authors over my time with LexisNexis, but Dr George Hinde was special. George was wholly dedicated to advancing his field of law and his contributions to the legal industry over the past 50 years are immense.”

She recalls sharing “precious moments” while lunching at George’s favourite restaurant, Tony’s, in Auckland.

“George will be fondly remembered for his traditional ways, ebullient handwritten manuscripts, and dedication to sharing his extensive knowledge with the legal profession.”

In a LexisNexis interview conducted by Michaela Williams this year, he said he chose a career in law after he asked his public service department what would be most useful in his job, their response being “law”.

He sourced his longstanding academic writing career by following the mantra “publish or perish”.

He was known for writing all of his content without the use of a computer.

“I very much dislike online publishing. I am just old fashioned. I suppose I like to have a book and I like to turn the pages and read it. I do not want to have to peer at a screen.”

Dr Hinde is survived by his wife Marian, whom he met at Auckland Law School and married in 1975. 

By Sasha Borissenko, New Zealand Law Society. 

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Last updated on the 25th June 2019