A life at full throttle

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She was an adventurer, designer, business woman, engineer, artist, world-class ski racer, milliner and an avid traveller, adored by all who knew her.

And yesterday Philippa Greig, known as Pip, was carried out of Moonlight Stables, near Arrowtown, as Frank Sinatra belted out My Way following her farewell.

The Queenstowner died in Mexico on August 17, after contracting dengue fever while house-sitting in Yelapa, Puerto Vallarta.

It was standing room only yesterday as hundreds gathered to remember the woman who gave her all to life, and everyone around her, packing in more adventures in 37 years than most do in 80.

Her mum, Ros Greig, said her eldest daughter was born with “clicky hips” and spent the first three months of her life in leg braces.

She spent the rest of it going full throttle, embracing everything life had to offer, first travelling the world ski racing, and later just for fun.

Despite having lived in London, Auckland and Wellington, as well as spending winters in Europe and Canada, Queenstown was always home.

Not long ago she bought an apartment near the CBD, with plans to come back and settle after her ill-fated trip.

Dad, Rob, said as parents they were used to getting phone calls from hospitals after one of their three kids hurt themselves, either on the slopes or while on other adventures.

“Usually they [medical staff] would describe the injury, the course of treatment, when the operation is to take place and how long for recovery.”

A phone call from a hospital in Mexico on August 17 was routine until “the script changed” when he asked if his daughter was “doing better now”. He was told the staff had done everything they could for her.

“We had a total sense of disbelief. You read about these things happening, [but] it never involves you.”

The family travelled to the village where she had been house sitting – ironically, her bed was covered in a mosquito net. They found out 15 others in the village had been diagnosed that month.

Before Pip, none had died. He said the family had been overwhelmed and humbled by offers of assistance.

The best way to help, he said, was to spread the word about dangers of mosquito viruses.

“They are real. They can kill.”

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz