At his station: David Crow reading Queenstown's weather during a remarkable 59-year stint that ended last month


Chalk up the first Sunday of last month as a rather poignant day in Queenstown’s history.

Just before 9am, David Crow, who’s been taking the resort’s temperature for 59 years — or
delegating the job if he was unavailable — undertook what turned out to be his last weather observations at the historic Brisbane Street enclosure.

Then, at 9.45am, he posted his last forecast on his weather website.

Unfortunately, since then Crow, 87, has been under the weather, and after a spell in hospital is now recuperating in a resthome.

Rain, hail or sunshine, he’s been monitoring Queenstown’s rain, hail or sunshine since 1962, after the previous weather observer handed him the voluntary role just a week after he’d settled here — he’d previously worked as a meteorologist around the country, most latterly in Invercargill.

For his first 50 years in Queenstown, he lived in Arthurs Point’s highest house, dubbed
‘Crow’s Nest’, and it was often a treacherous exercise getting down his narrow, windy dirt
road — later renamed Crows Nest Road — to go and read the weather each morning.

One-time neighbour, the late Chas Drader, persuaded Crow to also present the weather on
his then-new radio station — a gig he kept up for nearly 30 years till MoreFM pulled the plug.

Legend: David Crow measuring rainfall in 2008

Stuart Maclean, who used to fill in for Crow, says: ‘‘Chas said he was the only neighbour he
never talked to over the fence about the weather.

‘‘David used to say to me, ‘I won’t get the weather wrong, but I might get the timing wrong’.’’

Maclean says Crow often used to help out people who’d ask him for the weather ahead of an event.

NIWA national climate network manager Andrew Harper says ‘‘the climate record we have
from Queenstown is a very special one, and it’s pretty much due to David as to the quality of that record’’.

Commenting on his 59-year stint, mayor Jim Boult reflects: ‘‘I’ve been been here for 40
years and I feel like a new kid on the block compared to him.’’

Boult says ‘‘he’s really an institution’’.

‘‘Look, if people talk about the weather they talk about David Crow, they’re synonymous.

‘‘He’s enormously appreciated, and missed.’’