Lawyer gave decades of service to Taranaki

August 9, 2018

New Plymouth lawyer Ian Mitchell, a St Mary’s parishioner whose distinguished service to the community included 34 years on the Taranaki Anglican Trust Board, died in July 2018, a month short of his 90th birthday.

Ian was born in Blenheim in 1928. He boarded at Nelson College before studying law at Victoria University, and then practised law at Govett Quilliam for 41 years, 25 of them as the senior partner.

Ian supported many organisations professionally, including the New Plymouth District and Taranaki Regional Councils. He also helped the rural community, notably with the amalgamation of Taranaki dairy companies that eventually led to the merging of the Kiwi and New Zealand Dairy Company to form Fonterra.

Ian was honorary solicitor to the Crippled Children Society, Hard of Hearing Trust, Little Theatre and Operatic Societies, Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust and the Cyclone Bola Trust. 

He spent 25 years on the Tainui Home Trust Board (13 of them as chairman), and was chairman of a Masonic Lodge and grand registrar of the New Zealand Grand Lodge. A council member of the District Law Society, he was a founding member of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Board and more recently the Len Lye Trust Foundation.

Ian served on the founding board, which worked both to transform a swamp in Pukekura Park into the Bowl of Brooklands and to establish the Festival of the Pines.

In 1996 he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his efforts for the law and the Taranaki community.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Joan, their three children and six grandchildren.

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