OBITUARY: Dunedin attorney Neville Stanley Marquet was a short man with a booming voice, impeccable work ethic and gentlemanly demeanor.
His daughter Janet said he was always respectful and let his work do the talking.
“His job was his mistress and a master of the difficult task. He loved working for people and helping people achieve great results.
Neville Marquet made his name as a planning lawyer, leading the Queenstown Lakes District Council during the pioneering days of resource management law.
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But his impact has long been felt as a civil lawyer with great empathy and a love for courtroom debate.
After his death at the age of 94, earlier this month, the worker lawyer was buried with a copy of the submissions he made to the Privy Council in 1994.
He was rightly very proud of winning the lawsuit he defended on behalf of Mosgiel Woolen Mills employees, and the praise he later received from the lords who sat on the board, Janet said.
Marquet was born in Christchurch in 1927, arriving two months early. He was brought home in a shoebox because he was so small.
He was an only child but had a large, united family.
When he was 4, his father, a bodybuilder in Addington, transferred to work at the Dunedin Hillside shop.
Marquet was “gutted” from missing the fighting during World War II, which ended three days before his 18th birthday. He then studied law at the University of Otago.
“He did some research and looked at what lawyers ate and drove and the same for accountants. He came to the conclusion that lawyers drive better cars and eat better. That’s why he came into law, ”his daughter said.
Marquet was called to the bar in 1954 and worked for the Public Trust for a few years.
He took two criminal cases, one in which a witness perjured himself and the other in which the accused did, so chose to pursue the civil law instead.
During his nearly 60-year career, Marquet was President of the Otago District Law Society in 1975, Vice-President of the NZ Law Society from 1976 to 1979, and served on the NZLS Disciplinary Committee for 13 years. (seven as president).
He was twice invited to become a judge but declined, preferring to focus on the “blow and push” of the courtroom.
Colleague Les Griffins recalled that when Marquet joined the law firm Ross Dowling (later Ross Dowling Marquet Griffin) in 1971, significant capital expenditure was required to replace the walls and introduce double glazing as the voice de Marquet was so strong.
“On a local phone call you would think they were in England. If he was online, you would swear he was talking to someone on the moon. It was penetrating, ”he recalls.
Marquet was a perfectionist in his work, producing several drafts of submissions before he was satisfied.
He also worked late evenings (after coming home for dinner and doing the dishes) and weekends, except Saturday mornings, which were reserved for golf. He was also an enthusiastic member of the Masonic Lodge.
Marquet’s weakness was chocolate, Griffin said.
After an office break-in, police were busy taking notes of stolen equipment, when Marquet barged in to shout that five blocks of chocolate had been stolen from his desk drawer.
“It was more important than anything,” Griffin said.
Marquet also liked big cars, owning a Valiant series in the 1970s, despite needing a cushion to see over the steering wheel. He later bought Volvos because he was president of a Dunedin car dealership that sold cars.
Janet said her father was proud to be able to cover the winding 280 kilometers from Dunedin to Queenstown in less than three hours. According to the Automobile Association, the trip takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Once he was arrested by police, his wife Lenore thanked the officer.
“He accelerated all the way and he doesn’t want to listen to me,” she told the officer.
A very gentle man, Marquet never raised his voice, but after getting his speeding ticket he told Lenore to please let him speak next time, Janet said.
Neville and Lenore were very dedicated, having met when they were young and remaining married until Lenore died 67 years later.
They couldn’t have children but adopted Janet and Peter.
When Janet was having a difficult pregnancy before the birth of her third child and her husband left town to play rugby, it was her father who was by her side during the birth.
“He was the first person to hold Rebekkah, and they’ve had a great relationship ever since,” Janet said.
Marquet supported Janet and her three children after her divorce, meeting their housing and education needs and making sure they didn’t miss out on opportunities.
“He always wanted the best for us and encouraged us to be the best. “
Marquet’s legacy will continue with a scholarship the family established in 2017 to support a young environmental and resource management law student at the University of Otago.
Two high school scholarships were also planned, Janet said.
Marquet is survived by his daughter Janet, his son Peter, three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.