Lecretia Seales: A razor sharp mind and full of fun
I worked with Lecretia for five years at the New Zealand Law Commission. She had one of the finest legal minds I have encountered.
She was exhaustively thorough in her analysis of tough legal questions – and there were plenty at the Law Commission – and never ever gave up until she had the answer. Her mind was razor sharp.
She had fearless determination, too, and would argue her point of view with anyone, whatever their status. She made a huge contribution to the commission in some of its most difficult projects.
What a pleasure she was to work with. She was such fun. There was a lot of laughter at the Law Commission, and somehow Lecretia was at the centre of much of it. She had vivacious, infectious humour.
But there was a serious side to her, too. I particularly remember a conversation I had with her when both of us were relatively new at the commission. Her thoughts on the uncertainties of life and the future (and this was well before the onset of her illness) showed a deeply reflective and caring person.
We were shattered when her illness was first diagnosed. She returned to work as soon as she was able after her operation and subsequent treatment, and recommenced her research and writing with no less dedication, and no less ability, than before.
So it continued day after day, year after year, even as her physical health began to decline. In the light of her knowledge of her uncertain future, her dedication to duty was utterly remarkable.
It was typical of her that she decided to allow herself to be the focus of the debate on the choice to die. It took great courage to begin a court action, and to willingly surrender her privacy by being the subject of media attention.
As I write this I do not know the outcome of the case, but whatever it may be she has galvanised the debate, and it will not end with her life.
She was a remarkable woman. It was one of the great privileges of my life to have known her.