By Denise Arnold of Lyon O'Neale Arnold
Blair Antony Kiddle was born on 5 September 1971 in Auckland to Susan and Robert Kiddle. He spent his first seven years in Auckland before shifting to Tauranga and attending Tauranga Primary School. Upon completing primary school he attended Tauranga Intermediate and Tauranga Boys College from 1985 until 1989.
Blair was an accomplished rugby player and an active sportsman. He was a member of the Tauranga Boys College 1st XV, the Bay of Plenty Secondary School Rugby Team and the North Island Secondary Schools Rugby Team. He played for the Bay of Plenty Under 21s, the Te Puke Sports Rugby Club, Bay of Plenty B and the Western Bay of Plenty teams. In 2000/01 Blair played for the Mount Maunganui Rugby Club premier team and was a member of the Western Bay of Plenty Rugby Team. He was a personality on the rugby field to be reckoned with, and from a young age tried to exert his influence on referees and opponents alike.
Blair also excelled in volleyball and during 1987 to 1989 he was a member of the Tauranga Boys College Team, the New Zealand Under 17 Test Team and the New Zealand Under 23 Tour Team for the Asia Pacific Games in Thailand. In 1991 he represented Tauranga in Volleyball and in 1993/95 he was a member of the Waikato Volleyball National Team. Blair was also involved in basketball, the swim team and coached rugby and is remembered by many of the teachers at Tauranga Boys College as a good, robust, active and intelligent student.
In 1992 Blair enrolled at the University of Waikato to complete a Bachelor of Social Science in Psychology and Sociology. Upon completing his degree he joined the New Zealand Police Force and worked in the Criminal Investigation Branch and Law Enforcement Team from 1996 to 2001. During these years with the Police, Blair was involved in drug recovery, investigating serious crime and worked with the Team Policing Unit. Blair left the New Zealand Police Force in 2001.
In 2004 he returned to the University of Waikato to study Law, completing an Honours Degree in two and a half years and being a finalist in the Buddle Finlay Negotiation Competition in 2005.
Blair joined Lyon O’Neale Arnold as a staff solicitor in 2007 after completing his legal professionals’ course. Blair worked with the partners Doug Lyon, Mike O’Neale and Denise Arnold in the Tauranga office and undertook a variety of legal work. Blair’s arrival coincided with the global financial crisis and it was a particularly challenging time for a young lawyer to make his way in the legal profession. Blair was not daunted by this and launched himself into the leaky building issues that had struck the area and he ended up being an extremely proficient lawyer dealing with water tight client home claims. As soon as the opportunity arose, Blair moved into the areas of commercial and conveyancing. Blair was an extremely well-known local personality and had a very large client base. In 2010 he was invited to join Doug, Mike and Denise as a partner.
During the term of his partnership Blair was a highly valued member of the firm. He took over responsibility for managing the IT and communication systems as well as managing staff training and the library systems. It wasn’t all work and no play for Blair. He was a very active member of the social committee arranging quiz nights, sporting events and all manner of social events. Blair was extremely focused and conscious of keeping a good spirit within the firm and allowing the opportunity for staff and partners alike to mix and enjoy each other’s company.
Blair passed away as a result of a diving accident on 1 January 2014. His death is still subject to a coroner’s report. It is some comfort that Blair was giving his usual cheek to the other members of the diving party before he somehow fell silent and drowned. Blair died doing something he loved. The sea was a big part of his life.
Blair Kiddle is survived by his partner Rebecca and sons Sam, Jacob and Noah along with daughter Charlotte (Charlie).