'Devoted' charity patron dies at 90
The widow of the first New Zealander to become governor general has died in Auckland.
Lady June Blundell, one of the longest serving members of the Order of New Zealand, died at Auckland Hospital yesterday. She was 90.
Lady June was made a member of New Zealand highest honour in 1988, a year after the Order was established, in recognition of her outstanding service to New Zealanders and to the Crown.
The widow of Sir Denis Blundell, Lady June actively supported her husband throughout his time at Government House (1972-77).
Sir Denis was the son of Wellington's Evening Post founder and publisher.
He was named governor general in 1972 despite opposition from then Labour leader Norman Kirk, but later Prime Minister David Lange quipped that Blundell's appointment "sort of made us somehow mortal. A man who was a lawyer and the son of a newspaper publisher could become The Queen in drag."
Current Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae said Lady June dedicated her life to the service of others.
"A softly spoken person who never sought the limelight, she worked quietly and tirelessly on behalf of many community organisations and charities."
She was active in St John throughout her life, and had a devoted interest in St John Youth.
She was the founding patron of the Child Cancer Foundation and contributed to the establishment of CanTeen in 1988. She was also involved with the Homai College for the Blind, Save the Children New Zealand, and the Asthma Foundation.
Prime Minister John Key said Lady June had made "a significant contribution to New Zealand in her own right".
"I express my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Lady June at her passing."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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