Remembering a high-achieving bloke

An apparel pioneer, a developer, a racing car collector and driver and an ideas man.

They’re some descriptions of former Queenstowner Rob Boult, who died recently, aged 86, in Motueka, where he’d shifted to about five years ago.

Former local mayor Jim Boult, Rob’s youngest brother, says ‘‘he was my role model in life, he was just a high-achieving bloke’’.

Brought up in Wellington, Rob moved with his family to Invercargill in 1948.

He left school at just 15 — ‘‘my father found he had been wagging school and decided he needed to join the workforce’’, Jim says.

He joined his family’s apparel manufacturing business, and in his early 20s relocated to London with his wife Marjorie and attended the rag trade’s ‘university’, The Tailor and Cutter Academy.

A snappy dresser, Rob introduced sheepskin coats to New Zealand, and created Invercargill’s Knight Tailors, which became a major exporter.

For two years running he was the Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards’ supreme winner.

He sold out of the business in his mid-40s, moving to Queenstown where he developed the Alpine Retreat subdivision off Moke Lake Rd.

He also grew maple trees there with the idea of producing maple syrup.

‘‘He was one of those blokes who would try anything, he was never short of a good idea,’’ Jim says.

Another idea was a trout hatchery/fishery at Queenstown’s One Mile, which he got consent for but didn’t pursue.

Jim says it was also Rob’s idea, which he took up himself, to run the then-beleaguered Kingston Flyer steam train between Queenstown
and Arrowtown.

Rob’s greatest passion was collecting and driving race cars, some of which were built out of parts.

Jim says he thought he was mad when he paid $70,000 for a Maserati 4CLT, but within 10 years he’d sold it for $1.4 million, ‘‘so he knew his

A favourite was a red Allard J2 which the brothers co-drove in a one-off Australian race from Darwin to Uluru/Ayers Rock and back, in which they won their category.

Rob also conceived with Jim the former Queenstown quarter-mile car sprint which morphed into a bigger street race.

He even built a campervan out of the front of an old Metroliner aircraft, his brother recalls.

Rob’s survived by Marjorie, his wife of 65 years, and their children Simone and Kurtis.

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