New Zealand Law Society - Allan Gordon Hercus, 1911 - 2005

Allan Gordon Hercus, 1911 - 2005

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Allan Hercus was born in 1911 and spent his early life in Tapanui, in the south of the South Island, where his father was a Presbyterian minister, and in Christchurch. He was the first dux of Methven District High School, and two years later dux of Christchurch Boys' High School.

Allan went to work for the Public Works Department while studying part-time and extramurally. In 1931 he was transferred to Wellington to work in the Native Affairs Department, and continued with his studies as an internal student. He graduated with MA/LLM from Victoria University and was admitted to the Bar in 1944.

During the Second World War Allan worked with the Air Force meteorological service based at Ohakea and also at the Kelburn weather office.

After the war Allan went back to the Native Affairs Department, now renamed as the Māori Affairs Department, and was involved for a number of years with the work of the Māori Trustee - dealing with leases, consolidation of land, and Māori Land Court documentation. During his last six years with the Public Service Allan was office solicitor for the State Advances Corporation. He was secretary for the Public Service Legal Society for nine years.

When he retired from the Public Service after 41 years in 1971, Allan was asked by Professor Don Trow at Victoria University to lecture in commercial law to accounting students. This he did for seven years while also working for a half day a week at the Porirua office of Gault Mitchell & Wilson.

His teaching career over, Allan joined Hogg Gillespie Carter & Oakley (now Oakley Moran). His knowledge of Māori  land issues was useful when he was able to help disentangle complications with Māori-owned land at Paraparaumu. He worked with the firm until he was 82 in 1993.

Allan Hercus maintained a life-long membership of the Presbyterian church. He was also a keen rugby player - it is thought that in 1974, when he was 63, he was the oldest active player in the world. At one stage he and son Ian both played in the same team. Always a keen walker, Allan made rare appearances behind the wheel of his under-used car.

Allan Hercus died on 15 May 2005.

This obituary was published in the July 2005 issue of Council Brief, the monthly newsletter of the Wellington District Law Society.

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