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Peter Francis Gorringe, 1945 - 2015

By James Greenland

The Waikato and the wider legal community have lost a "real gentleman" in Peter Gorringe, who passed away on Tuesday 10 November 2015, aged 70.

Peter is survived by his two adult children Romiley and Ashley. A celebration of his life will be held at Hamilton Park Chapel, 395 Morrinsville Road, Hamilton on Friday 20 November at 1.30pm.

Peter graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Laws in 1968, before taking his first legal job as a clerk at the firm Tuckwell and Roache in Wellington. He went on to work at several North Island firms and was a partner at both Tauranga's Maltby Hare and Willoughby and Tanner Fitzgerald, before practising as a barrister sole in Hamilton from 1996.

Long term friend Deryck Walter remembers his mate as a keen runner, who had completed a couple of marathons and several half-marathons, tramper, photographer and reader. He says Peter took Spanish lessons, was a good cook, loved a wide range of music from jazz to classical, and was "addicted" to his work, whether it be his private practice, assisting at Community Law Waikato or his membership on the local branch of Amnesty International.

Enjoying a reputation among solicitors for integrity and calmness, whatever the style or personality of the client, Peter was a widely respected member of the Waikato legal community both in the criminal and civil jurisdictions, says New Zealand Law Society Waikato Bay of Plenty branch President Kerry Burroughs.

"Peter's quiet gentlemanly conduct and his ability to show empathy set him apart from many other practitioners," Mr Burroughs says.

"Peter was always available to discuss any matter and was also prepared to be instructed as counsel where remuneration would likely be low or non-existent."

These qualities earned Peter the respect of the local judiciary, Mr Burroughs says, with each member of the Waikato bench having expressed their sadness at his passing.

Peter served on the Crown's Criminal Prosecutors Panel for some 25 years until his death.

Mr Burroughs says Peter's quiet wit and charm will be missed by his mates, as well as the wider profession. He, Peter, and three other professional associates (Warren Pyke, Ron Flood, and Jock Simpson) had developed a tradition (sadly abandoned some years ago) where they'd travel to Auckland annually to watch an All Blacks test.

And Mr Burroughs recalls another, professional interaction with Peter during a several-day long mediated estate claim held at the Hawke's Bay Club, where some of the better Hawke's Bay vintages was sampled in "usual good company".

Christopher Gudsell QC says it was his privilege to share Chambers with Peter for the past 19 years.

"I had the pleasure to share a professional association with Peter and to come to know him both as a fine legal colleague and person.

"Peter's professionalism was displayed on a daily basis."

Mr Gudsell says Peter was reputed for his quiet way and thorough, careful, balanced style, evidence of his caring personal nature, significant work ethic, and willingness to "go the extra yard" for clients.

"Peter will be greatly missed."

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Last updated on the 25th February 2016