Monday, 26 April 2010

One of the most remarkable men I have known.

I first met Warrington Taylor in about 1961. He was a tall, handsome man about 60, with a gentle manner and a warm smile. I was a 13 year old athlete and his son Brian had just started coaching me. Somehow I was drawn to Warrington Taylor as he had qualities I had not found in many people up until then. His general knowldege was astounding from geography to mechanics, law to philosophy, religion to nuclear power, politics to people. In a suit and tie he had the stature of a Statesmen and in his old working clothes, which included worn trousers, brown shoes, a shirt and tie, and a tweed jacket, he still looked like a Statesman.

When he spoke, his words were clear, well chosen and soft. He ran a law firm in Dunedin from an old office in Princess Street, near the Embassy theatre. I loved going into his office and watching him write legal briefs on quarto sheets of paper, which he tied with green tape when completed. When I was at High School I popped in to see him a few times, and this busy lawyer would always welcome me with a broad smile, with at least one gold tooth.

I think he took a liking to me and we often used to sit down together at his crib at Karitane, and tell me about trips he did in Europe as a young man. He talked of the Swiss Alps, the river journeys and going to famous places such as art galleries and museums.

What moved me about this man was his compassion and an undying belief the world should be a better place. He was a key figure in the Dunedin branch of the CND, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and campaigned vigorously for banning the bomb.He fought against the Dunedin City Council when they made plans to scrap trolley buses, and in 1960 I think it was, he stood as an independent candidate for the Dunedin Central electorate on the nuclear disarmament platform. Warrington Taylor was a fighter for human rights, truth and a better world.

In 1965 when the Beatles visited Duedin, Warrington joined his son Brian and I and he  enjoyed their performance immensely. Most adults of his age were condemning the Beatles as anti-establihment, but not Mr. Taylor. He could see the good in these people and like the lyrics that often promoted peace and love.

Warrington Taylor was a man for all seasons. He was equally at home in a law court, or repairing his old car or lawn mower. His innate ability to break subjects down into component parts, and rebuild arguments or cases, was a technique he used when repairing motors.

I feel that Warrington Taylor was one of those men that somehow the media ignored. Never into self promotion, he quietly did his works behind the scene. I wonder how many clients he did work for and he never charged them ?

I am very proud to help the Taylor family start this blog, especially Brian and Pru, Suzanne and Ross. I hope those of you who knew this remarkable man will contribute to this blog.

Bob McKerrow

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