Walker’s staggering contribution remembered


A Queenstowner who died last week made a staggering contribution to local and often regional sporting and community organisations.

Colin Walker, who succumbed to cancer, aged 61, was remembered at his packed funeral last Saturday as a man who worked tirelessly for his community but was also totally devoted to his family.

He also had a prominent career in local and then regional government spanning 42 years.

He was a health inspector for the former Queenstown Borough and Lake County councils and planning and then regulatory services manager for the amalgamated Queenstown Lakes District Council.

He opened Otago Regional Council’s local office in 1994 and had been a senior consents officer there ever since.

Local Presbyterian minister Ian Guy, officiating at the funeral, spoke of “quite an extraordinary life, often lived in a very quiet way”.

He also said Walker was passionate about the town and the region and “sought to leave it a better place for the rest of us”.

A third-generation Queenstowner, Walker was educated locally and at Oamaru’s Waitaki Boys’ where he was first XV rugby captain.

Back in Queenstown, playing for the Wakatipu Rugby Club’s senior team, his crowning achievement was scoring three tries to help it win the prestigious White Horse Cup.

During celebrations he met his future wife Julie, whom he married in 1981.

Walker served 30 years as club secretary, gaining life membership on his retirement.

He was also prominent in regional rugby administration including chairing the Otago Country board. His contribution to swimming administration over 20-plus years was just as impressive.

One-time president of the Queenstown Swimming Club, which also awarded him life membership, he was secretary of Swimming Otago for the past nine years.

He managed and selected swim teams and was a technical official and meet director at many swimming champs, winning a Swimming New Zealand service award and Swimming Otago service and honours awards.

At his funeral, former neighbour and Showbiz Queenstown stalwart Greg Thompson recalled his sterling backstage contribution to the musical society over 18 years, including nine productions as stage manager.

Walker also played a leading role in setting up the Wakatipu and Frankton kindergartens and was a delegate to the Central Otago Kindergarten Association.

He and Julie had two children, Mitchell and Gabrielle.

Sadly, Mitchell lost his life in a fall near the Greenstone Track six-and-a-half years ago.