Resort rallies for Anita’s girls

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Generous soul: Tributes are flowing for Anita Graf, right, pictured with Bronwyn Monopoli

More than $10,500 has been raised through a Givealittle page to help Queenstowner Anita Graf’s daughters cover the costs of her funeral this weekend.

Graf, 60, died suddenly while skiing at Coronet Peak last Saturday.

It’s understood she lost control on Sugar’s Run and collided with a fence post. She was skiing the final ‘first tracks’ session of the season.

She died at the scene, despite the best efforts of the skifield’s doctor and nurse.

Close friend Sheena Haywood-Brent says Graf retrained later in life to become a caregiving nurse and most recently has been a live-in caregiver in Queenstown.

She became a grandmother this year and had travelled to the United States to meet her grandson, Ollie, before he returned to visit recently.

“So she got to have some nana time, and she was knitting up a storm during the winter in preparation for him.

“She had lots to look forward to.”

She says Graf touched many lives and will be “so, so sorely missed”.

“She was just such a generous soul.”

Devastating loss: Anita Graf

A fundraising page was set up on Monday to help her four girls, Jess, Katie, Chloe and Sofie.

The born-and-bred Queenstowner worked on the front line for AJ Hackett Bungy in its early years, when the company had a caravan, and later carried on part-time in the office.

Boss Henry van Asch says she was “super supportive of all the crew” and Chloe was the first “Bungy Baby – [the] product of bungy crew”.

When they ran into each other Graf would always greet him with a “warm hug and big smile and some story of her varied, and sometimes turbulent, life”.

“That she tragically died in what was probably her most happy place, Coronet Peak, is crazy, sad and brilliant at the same time, almost a reflection of how she lived her life.”

NZSki boss Paul Anderson says Graf also had two stints as a ski instructor with the company, first in the late 1980s and then again around 2004. Her death’s hit the Coronet community hard.

“She was well-known and well-loved amongst our locals who ski up there often, so that is really tough for the family and our staff to understand,” Anderson says.

“It’s really tragic when any accident happens, but this is one that has left us all feeling pretty numb.”

In a social media post Katie says her mum died doing something she loved, “but her life will not be defined by this accident”.

Katie, in the online tribute, adds: “This woman lived her life to the absolute fullest and is such a special light in our lives and others … just knowing how loved our mum was helps heal our hearts immensely.”

A celebration of Graf’s life will be held at Moonlight Stables this Saturday from 1pm.

Colourful clothes are to be worn.

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz