Salt of the earth’ father of Sunshine


The far-sighted father of Queenstown’s bush-clad Sunshine Bay subdivision died in Blenheim this week aged 95.

Hugh Miller developed about 120 sections from the early 1960s to the late 1980s with fellow Queenstowner Bob Thompson.

“He was one of the first in New Zealand to create a subdivision respecting the geographical and physical features of the landscape,” says daughter Mary Rix-Miller.

“I wish he’d hung onto it – we’d all be multi-millionaires by now.”

Miller’s also remembered for his abortive attempts to develop Sunshine Bay’s highest section for a restaurant called Star Gazer, plus a luxury hotel and casino.

“He was thinking of casinos before the Government even ever thought of them,” his daughter says.

“The salt of the earth” is how Queenstown architect Murray Cockburn recalls Miller, while local accountant

Bryan Collie labels him “a very straight, honest businessman”.

Miller was raised on a Waikato farm and graduated as a teacher before serving with the RNZAF and then the RAF in the Second World War.

After leaving Queenstown he lived in Auckland, still working on his subdivision, before shifting to retirement villages in Tauranga then Blenheim.

He’s survived by 88-year-old wife Marygold, a feisty three-term Queenstown borough councillor from 1968 and an early Mountain Scene shareholder.