It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Bill Sheat.
Bill joined the firm in 1953, becoming a partner in the partnership of Gibson Page Marshall and Sheat in 1957. He retired as a partner of Gibson Sheat in December 1997 remaining as a consultant until 2013 - having practised in the profession for 60 years.
Bill was not only an accomplished lawyer, but a dedicated and passionate advocate for the arts. In 1973, he was awarded an OBE and, in 2011, made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, both for services to the arts. He received an Icon of Wellington Award in the 2019 Gold Awards for his lifetime contribution to the arts.
Over the years, among other things, Bill was an Executive Member of Playmarket, Chair of the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand Trust, chaired the Royal New Zealand Ballet for 17 years, and was also Chair of Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council and the NZ Film Commission.
Bill had a knack for gathering together amazing people and getting things done - he was at the forefront of saving both the Wellington Opera House and the Embassy Theatre from the wrecking ball. Indeed, without his passion and uncompromising commitment Wellington would be a very different place, both physically and culturally.
We recently had the honour of sharing a morning tea with Bill in our Lower Hutt office, to belatedly celebrate his 90th birthday – which occurred during lockdown.
Rest in peace Bill - you will be sorely missed by many.