Key Points:

Sir Trevor Henry, Judge of the Supreme Court. Died aged 105.

Sir Trevor Henry, described as a great judge and a venerated figure in his profession, officially retired in 1974, although legal tasks came his way after that.

He was born in Thames in 1902 when the Boer War was on and Richard "King Dick" Seddon headed the Government.


At the funeral, friend and colleague Sir Duncan McMullin said there had been no fewer than 25 New Zealand prime ministers during Sir Trevor's life.

And it appears that his great age was less of a surprise to the Henry family than it would be to almost any other. Three of his siblings died at ages 94, 96 and 98.

His father was in the timber business and the boy grew up in rural areas where the native forest was being felled to be replaced with farms established on the rough landscapes.

He was familiar with handling horses from an early age, and always recalled when he was 11 being told to take a horse and gig and deliver a woman and her new baby home to an isolated farm reached along narrow, rough tracks.

Educated at Rotorua District High School, he studied law at Auckland University and was admitted as a barrister in Auckland in 1925. He was a member of the New Zealand Olympic Games selection committee in 1936.

He was involved during the mid-1930s in the much publicised murder trial of Eric Mareo, a musician twice convicted and twice sentenced to death for poisoning his actress wife Thelma Trott. Mareo's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

Another major case was Dove-Myer Robinson's suit against the Auckland Drainage Board as part of his long campaign to stop sewage being discharged into the Waitemata Harbour at Browns Island.

In early 1955 Sir Trevor's son, John, was admitted to the bar, and the same month his father was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court - now known as the High Court - and moved to Dunedin.

Sir Trevor was knighted in 1970.

Sir Duncan McMullin described him as a humble man and one devoid of pretence, but one who was also meticulous in surveying evidence and possessed of a sharp mind that proceeded to the heart of a case.

His involvement with various tasks after his retirement showed his mind remained sharp and attuned to issues of the law. In 1987, he criticised a Court of Appeal decision allowing Dean Wickliffe's appeal against his murder conviction. Wickliffe based his appeal on a claim that he did not mean to hurt anyone, although armed with a fully loaded semi-automatic pistol.

And in 1994 in a Herald article Sir Trevor wrote a description of the principles of law that applied when an instrument such as an iron bar is used to facilitate a robbery and ends in the death of someone.

Sir Trevor's wife, Audrey, died in 1989. He is survived by children Rowan and John - and many descendants.