By Don McCulloch and Richard Kemp
Shane Treadwell’s recent sudden death was a great shock to his family and close friends because immediately prior to his death he appeared to be particularly fit and in good health, especially for one approaching 83 years in age.
For many years, until his retirement as a partner some nine or so years ago, Shane was the senior partner in the firm of Treadwell Stacey Smith. Previously the firm Treadwells had amalgamated with Stacey Smith Holmes and Billington some 16 years ago. Shane continued as a consultant after retiring from the partnership, dealing mainly in the area of trusts where he was actively involved in the administration of several charitable trusts.
During the latter part of World War II, Shane saw action against the Japanese in the Pacific where he flew Kittyhawks and Corsairs with the New Zealand Airforce. His reminiscences about his flying experiences, and previously his army involvement were legendary.
Although Shane was a particularly modest man, his friends and family at times managed to extract from him accounts of his wonderful experiences (both official and not so official) while flying his Corsair.
After the war Shane completed his legal studies and joined his father Adrian, and his uncle Archie Treadwell in partnership in the firm of Treadwells.
Shane was an extremely competent and most well respected lawyer who specialised in property and trust matters. He was always known as a “straight shooter” amongst his contemporaries and had little time for some other practitioners who tried to bend the rules or who acted in any dishonourable or non-forthright way.
Not only did he have an excellent reputation in the law, but Shane was also known as an extremely talented deerstalker and hunter. He had numerous trips to Fiordland, particularly in the 1960s and early 1970s stalking wapiti. He also spent nine months hunting in India in 1954. Over the years he maintained his very strong interest in deerstalking and as recently as April this year, he again enjoyed hunting during the “Roar” with his son Mical and his other close hunting companions.
Shane also loved the outdoors generally and had a particular interest in the unique and varied New Zealand landscape and environment. He had a wonderful knowledge of native trees and could readily identify the subtle differences between the various species of beech trees and the different shrubs and grasses which covered the alpine country. He had a great affinity with the countryside. He also had an uncanny knowledge of direction. He rarely used a compass, even in unfamiliar bush country, because of his sense of knowing which direction he should be travelling, even in bad weather. He took great delight in making a very comfortable campsite on hunting expeditions, using materials at hand. He immensely enjoyed sitting around a camp fire after a day’s hunting, yarning about all sorts of topics.
Shane made many valued contributions to the community and shared his skill and enthusiasm with various organisations particularly in relation to the outdoors. He was instrumental in both proposing and in the decision to successfully eradicate rats from Kapiti Island, being the largest successful pest eradication campaign in the Southern Hemisphere to date. As a consequence of this project he was also a chief supporter of the Tararua Weka Rescue Trust, dedicated to rescuing and relocating the Kapiti Island Wekas doomed to die by secondary poisoning relating to the Kapiti Island project. Shane was a great conservationist and was dedicated to preserving New Zealand’s wonderful wildlife and fauna.
Following in the legal/sporting tradition of the late LOH Tripp, Shane played a significant role in the administration of fish and game in New Zealand.
In the 1968 Hunn Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the organisation of Wildlife Management and Research in New Zealand, the Chairman Sir Jack Hunn gratefully acknowledged Shane’s perceptive objection to the legal status of the Commission resulting in the reconstitution of the Commission under the Commission of Enquiry Act 1908 and with Shane’s approval the adoption of the work previously completed by the Commission.
Shane served as the Vice President and also as the Chairman of the Game Committee of the Wellington Acclimatisation Society in the 1960s and 1970s.
He was renowned for having the courage of his own convictions which were expressed on a wide range of subjects. His willingness to consider and encourage a further soundly based viewpoint meant that his opinions were highly valued and respected. His advice and support was freely given and well received by numerous sporting and voluntary organisations throughout the country.
He possessed a great turn of phrase which was noticeably apparent when he was inspired to put pen to paper – which was not infrequent.
But most of all Shane will be remembered as a great family man. He was dearly loved by his wife Barbara, his daughters Mandy, the late Cindy, Nici, Jacky and Gretchen and his son Mical, who has followed in his father’s footsteps, both in his love of hunting and the outdoors and also in his practising law in his father’s old firm where he is now the senior partner.
Shane had an extremely interesting, adventurous and challenging life. He always gave 100% to everything he embarked on and will always be remembered for his great sense of humour, his strength of character, his dedication to his work and the many community projects in which he was involved.
He will be very sadly missed by his legal colleagues, his friends and of course his family.
This obituary was first published in Council Brief, June 2006.