Obituary – Grant Loney

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Published 16 December 2021
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Obituary – Grant Loney

Grant Alan Loney passed away on Sunday, 17 October 2021, surrounded by his family. He was a much-loved husband, father, colleague and friend, who is sorely missed. 

After finishing school in Thames, Grant studied Civil Engineering at the University of Auckland, before starting his career with the Ministry of Works. He joined Tonkin + Taylor in 1980, before broadening his experience working with Worley, then Barrett Fuller. In those formative years, he worked on a variety of projects including the Brewery Creek Landslide stabilisation at the Clyde Dam and the Arapuni Dam headrace. 

Grant returned to Tonkin + Taylor in 1993 and worked under Peter Millar, who says “I thought of Grant as a “Duracell battery.” He was irrepressible and enduring – whatever you said to him, he would always bounce back with energy and kindness.”

Grant became an influential leader at Tonkin + Taylor and turned his efforts to developing the younger members of his team, providing guidance when they were struggling and helping them to find the best in themselves. He was a wonderful person to work with, as demonstrated by the enduring respect our people and clients have for him and his work.

With its varied geology and terrain, and extensive geotechnical challenges, the Coromandel was one of Grant’s favourite places to work. His years working on the conundrums of the Golden Cross project in Waihi were amongst his happiest, and he contributed a wealth of technical expertise. Grant loved creating better outcomes for our clients and communities and was just as happy working on small jobs, like houses on difficult sites, and seeing this turn out well for their owners. 

Grant’s career highlights included dams at New Zealand Steel, Kerikeri #8 and Aomarama. He led large geotechnical investigations and design for landslips and cliff top failures, and foundation design for well-known buildings and infrastructure, including TVNZ Headquarters, Thames Hospital redevelopment and Whangamata Marina. He enjoyed working on fun projects, including Cape Kidnappers Golf Course Lodge, the Hyatt Hotel in Bora Bora, Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World and the redevelopment of Eden Park, and the challenge of providing expert evidence at a range of hearings including the Environment Court, local authority and mediation.

Grant had outstanding technical abilities, but it was his other attributes that set him apart. He stopped to smell the roses, enjoying the journey his work took him and others on. He had time for people and was generous in giving it to them. His positive and irrepressible attitude meant he connected with people deeply, and he had a humility that made others feel they belonged and had something valuable to offer. 

Grant was the glue that bound our wha¯nau together. We are grateful for the contributions Grant made to our business and industry and will remember him as a Tonkin + Taylor icon, culture setter and leader. 

Grant at Castle Rock in the Coromandel, an area he loved for its varied geology and terrain

Grant (R) with T+T geotechnical colleague Jamie Yule

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ISSN 01116851