New Zealand Law Society - John Winston Gold, 1942 - 2009

John Winston Gold, 1942 - 2009

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John Gold died on 26 August 2009. He was aged 67.

Born on 24 April 1942, he grew up in Greytown where his father was a car salesman. It was his father, it is said, from whom John Gold inherited his "deal-making" qualities.

After attending St Joseph's College in Masterton he went to work for the local Public Trust. In 1960 he was transferred by Public Trust to Wellington and began studying law at Victoria University. He later worked with Luckie Haine and Sladden Stuart Joseph & Lawrence.

His fiercely competitive nature showed in fiery play as halfback in the law clerks' junior thirds rugby team, his skill with crib - which indebted many a fellow law student to him - and in his hard work to achieve his law degree.

John Gold moved back to Masterton in 1966 and became a partner in Logan Whiteman & Gold in 1967. He left the firm at the end of 1973 to set up on his own and was a sole practitioner until 1987 when he was joined in partnership by Phil Walsh to create the firm Gold Walsh. At the beginning of 2007 Gold Walsh merged with the substantive part of Logan Blathwayt to become Logan Gold Walsh.

In his eulogy at John Gold's funeral, John Waddington said John's practical and fair approach to the law helped him to build up a strong business in a short time.

"He knew what most clients wanted was for the deal to be completed. They were not concerned about technical legal points but wanted completion...

"He always believed a deal could be made but if not he was fierce for his clients. Litigation was not a problem [but] he thought it was a waste of family resources.

"He always believed in fair charges and was not seduced by the computer process, nor by time sheets. He set a fair price and that was it."

As a keen sportsman, John Gold played tennis, squash and snooker, and was for many years a member of the Masterton Golf Club.

But it was in the "sport of kings" that he was most passionate. He owned, raced and bred several horse including Gold D'Oro which won the Wairarapa Cup (prompting the longest acceptance speech many had ever heard on a racecourse) and Danny Cool who looked likely to win a major race such as the Melbourne Cup but sadly died unexpectedly. John also did his share as a steward and committee member in the racing industry.

John Gold was irrepressible in facing up to life's challenges. He enjoyed jousting with the Commissioner of Inland Revenue - not so much for the tax, it is said, but because he revelled in the contest - and soon after a multiple bypass operation in 1996 he bungy jumped over the Victoria Falls during a tour to take in the Rugby World Cup.

"Goldie's" gregariousness led to his being known far and wide. He was a well-respected lawyer and is remembered with affection by all his colleagues and associates.

This obituary was first published in Council Brief, the newsletter of the Wellington branch of the New Zealand Law Society, in October 2009.

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