End of long career: Judy Stewart on her last day of work last week with Lake Wakatipu Care Centre manager Maurice David


A much-loved Queenstown nurse and, latterly caregiver, has finally retired just four months shy of her 90th birthday.

Judy Stewart’s looked after Lake Wakatipu Care Centre residents, many younger than herself, for the past 20 years, following a 27-year career as a charge nurse and transfer nurse at the neighbouring Lakes District Hospital. Stewart, who was awarded a mayoral citation in 2016, ‘retired’ three times from her first job and once from her current job.

But this time she’s pulling pin for good.

She’s getting treatment for an eye infection — ‘‘it was affecting my reading’’ — and has an operation in Invercargill next week to remove a basal cell, ‘‘which is a cancer’’, from her forehead, after a first attempt didn’t work out.

‘‘I said I would retire as soon as I got the [appointment].

‘‘I didn’t want to come back to work with a big bandage on my head.’’

Stewart, who trained as a nurse in Timaru 71 years ago, says she leaves with no regrets.
‘‘I’ve had a really good run, they’ve kept me on, and it’s worked out really well.’’

Though she still lives at home, she says she might move into an apartment building that’ll be built within the Queenstown Country Club retirement village.

‘‘That sounds quite nice …. an ensuite in my bed room, that would be nice.’’