Former District Court Judge and Waitangi Tribunal member Richard Kearney died in Tauranga on 27 March 2005.
Against advice and despite having a wife and three children to support, Richard Kearney began to study law part-time at the age of 27. Shortly after qualifying he joined the Gisborne firm of Woodward Iles & Co where he worked as a common law solicitor for 19 years, becoming a partner after one year. He also served as President of the Gisborne District Law Society and on the NZLS Council.
Judge Kearney was appointed to the bench in Wellington in 1980 and was executive judge for the Wellington region from 1986-89, before moving to serve in Tauranga and retiring there in 1995.
In 1996 he was appointed to the Waitangi Tribunal, where he was able to pursue his interest, developed in Gisborne, of the impact the Treaty had had on Maori and his interest in New Zealand history.
This obituary was first published in LawTalk 644, 2 May 2005, page 7.