Thank heavens for Nancy


A popular former Queenstown councillor who championed the local environment has died at the age of 93. 

Nancy Williams, whose funeral was in Wanaka yesterday, served on the council for 15 years. She was deputy mayor for her last two terms but is best remembered as reserves committee chairman for 12 years. 

“You drive around town and you see things like the rhododendron dell by the One Mile, she was responsible for that,” Queens­towner John Davies – who was mayor during her last term – says. 

“Between her and [reserves foreman] Don Smith, they did an enormous amount of work around the town for the reserves and the environment. 

“She drove the ‘Keep Wakatipu Beautiful’ committee for years.” 

Queenstowner Warren Cooper, Nancy’s first mayor, says she was “a great lady for the community, she was very vital, full of life, what we could call a practical greenie”. 

Nancy left the resort in 1986 – initially for Dunedin, then Wanaka – after stepping down from the former Queenstown Borough Council. 

At the time she told Mountain Scene she was “most pleased” that “Club Med didn’t go on that [Kelvin Grove] reserve and helicopters don’t land at One Mile Creek as of right”. 

Nancy was also behind Lake Wakatipu’s Pig and Pigeon Island becoming scenic reserves. 

A farmer’s daughter, she came to Queenstown in the late ’50s and taught at the local school for about 20 years. 

Nancy was a founding shareholder of Skyline Enterprises and for two years she helped run the former Skyline Chalet at Bob’s Peak. 

Nancy was also a founding shareholder/director of Mountain Scene Ltd. 

Mountain Scene chairman Barry Thomas says she “worked very hard in the paper’s early stages and even helped deliver the paper”. 

“Nancy had a huge personality and once you gained her confidence she was fiercely loyal.” 

Nancy, who was also a JP and marriage celebrant, is survived by children Pete, Kate and Andrea and step-daughter Helen – her late husband Eric also served a spell as Queenstown’s deputy mayor.