Robin Randell was admitted in February 1958, after working for several years as a law clerk with Bell Gully and Co. He became a partner at Bell Gully in April 1962 and remained in the same firm until his retirement in February 1993.
A diligent worker, Robin developed a formidable knowledge of the law across the firm’s property, commercial and litigation departments. He was highly regarded among his peers and it is said that his cases were always immaculately prepared and authoritatively presented.
He was particularly knowledgeable in the area of motor spirit licensing, specialising in town planning requirements for oil companies relating to the Town and Country Planning Act 1977 and the Resource Management Act 1991. He acted for Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited and the then Atlantic Oil Company Limited.
Robin Randell had wide interests outside the law. He was an ardent devotee of cricket and was a life member of Cricket Wellington. He was a stalwart of Taita Districts Cricket Club, was its honorary solicitor for 47 years, served as club president and was a longtime committee member. He was the Hutt Valley Cricket Association’s delegate to the Wellington Cricket Association for many years.
Robin also did extensive work for the Salvation Army and the Order of St John. He was solicitor for the latter organisation and undertook significant work related to the transfer of property and provided advice about trusts and on some international issues.
After his retirement from Bell Gully he joined the St John national rules committee at the time when the Order of St John was preparing for new challenges as a Christian order in an increasingly secular world. Peter Wood of St John says Robin’s contribution brought balance to every discussion but “… he always kept his copies of the rules of 1140 and Queen Victoria’s 1888 statutes close at hand”.
“While he appreciated that St John (like every big organisation) had to have a ‘mission statement’ and a ‘statement of future direction’, he would always gently steer the discussion back to the base ethos of the Order – the care of the sick and the poor.”
Mr Wood says Robin’s contributions to the rules committee were written in longhand, usually on the back of some gestetnered cricket club minutes from the 1970s.
With the sanction of the Queen, Robin was admitted to the Order of St John in the Grade of Officer in 1995 and promoted to Commander in 2001.
The citation for his promotion reads:
Mr Randell is the former Priory solicitor, and since his retirement he has served on the Priory Rules Committee. With dedicated commitment, he has acquired a mastery of the evolution, traditions and heritage of the Order. Mr Randell gave freely of his time, knowledge and expertise in providing practical advice to those responsible for the governance and management of Priory affairs.
This obituary was first published in Council Brief, May 2011.