Conscientious colleague and friend of the Faculty of Law dies

09 September 2012

Senior Communications Adviser Bill Williams, a much respected colleague, mentor, and friend for the Faculty of Law, and many others across The University of Auckland, died 26 August, aged 65. Bill had been Assistant Secretary and Publications Editor for the Auckland District Law Society before joining The University of Auckland in 1987 as the Information and Public Affairs Officer and thus he had a many decades long connection with members of the Law Faculty.

Professor David V Williams spoke on behalf of the Dean of Law and the Faculty at Bill’s funeral in the Maclaurin Chapel. He first met Bill during their student days at Wellington’s Victoria University in the 1960s, and shared in common both surname and a Hawkes Bay farm upbringing. He paid tribute to Bill’s unassuming presence at many law events, his conscientious attention to detail and his expert ability in law-related issues of the day.

“As members of the Faculty of Law, many of us connected regularly with Bill a long time ago in his publications role at the Auckland District Law Society. On his joining the University of Auckland, we continued to enjoy Bill’s quiet presence at, and reporting of, major events at the Law Faculty. He made us feel that he was very much a part of our Faculty – though his wider responsibilities were to the whole University. For the last 10 years I served with Bill on the Robb Lectures sub-committee. I was hugely impressed with Bill’s skills and his conscientious work to promote these major lectures in each year of our University’s life. Bill put a great deal of effort into ensuring the success of these lectures and in fostering our University’s links with the wider Auckland community.

On behalf of successive Deans of Law, Law Faculty colleagues past and present, and myself personally I honour Bill Williams’s huge contribution to our University. He will be greatly missed by us all, and most of all, of course, by Jill and all his family.”

Bill took a strong personal interest in Law events, in Eden Crescent, in Law Faculty website stories, and graduation stories. Frequently he was an intermediary between news media people and law staff with an expertise in law-related issues of the day. He conducted lively e-mail conversations with successive Deans. Most recently he wrote to Andrew Stockley (even during his terminal illness) about university issues but also the Queen’s Jubilee, the Lord Mayor of London, and (for Andrew’s special benefit) about Brasenose College students wearing pyjamas to breakfast! For all that he did the Faculty is grateful, and he will be sorely missed.