NZ voice resonated on world stage

Mary McIntyre
Mary McIntyre

With the death of Mary McIntyre just two weeks ago today, southerners lost a direct voice at the United Nations where Mrs McIntyre represented the Presbyterian women of New Zealand with consultative status at the UN economic and social council.

Over the past five years Mary McIntyre had travelled several times to New York from her family's retirement home at Bannockburn, near Cromwell, on her return speaking to members of the Association of Presbyterian Women on the responsibility church women had providing a Christian voice on a world stage.

Nola Stuart, former moderator of the Southland Presbytery, said Mrs McIntyre's input was invaluable, everywhere.

They first met through the Southland branch of National Council of Women, Mrs McIntyre passionate about issues, moved by stories of women struggling in developing countries, caring about rural women and maternal health. Through Presbyterian Women NZ, Mrs McIntyre shared resources at the UN with the newly formed Ecumenical Women, a coalition of Christian women's faith groups committed to gender justice and equality, the empowerment of women, and full and equal access to resources.

A skilled communicator, she touched base easily with strangers, made friends easily, kept friends life-long.

But at the heart of her life was her family, husband Lindsay, three sons, their wives and grandchildren.

Dunedin-born, Mary met Lindsay, from Tuatapere, when he was head boarder at Waitaki Boys' High School and she held the same role at Waitaki Girls'.

That schooldays friendship developed through university years and when both graduated from Otago, Lindsay in accountancy, Mary home science, they married and spent two years living and working in the United Kingdom.

When they returned it was to Invercargill and to Chelmsford St - their family home for some 30 years - to the birth of their first born John in September 1975, followed by Richard in 1977 and Hamish 1979.

Those years saw Mary McIntyre involved in Plunket and home and school and PTA, James Hargest High School, Saturday sports, Sunday church and family visiting.

She and Lindsay, both from strong Presbyterian church backgrounds with warm intergenerational family links, echoed that in their own lives and took that commitment to social justice and care for others through their lives.

Mary was a natural leader, a warm humorous woman who could lift moods and insights.

Lindsay joined Rotary of Invercargill East and Mary, Inner Wheel.

Both held office as district governor of these groups, Mary going on to become a Rotarian in her own right, earning a sapphire to her Paul Harris fellowship when in 2006 they moved to Cromwell, and semi-retirement for Lindsay, of city accounting firm McIntyre Dick.

Two years ago Mrs McIntyre began a term as national convener of Presbyterian Women ANZ. Illness prevented her completing that term but, Mrs Stuart said, her spirit is a legacy that lives on in the energy and compassion she had to help people across the world struggling in life, in the great love she had for her husband, their sons and precious grandchildren.

Mrs McIntyre was skilled in home design and a trained nutritionist. She could answer most people's family problems and did, when asked.

But it was her energy and drive, her good humour under pressure, her ability to set priorities and still deal with the unexpected that others tried to emulate.

Mary McIntyre, 65, is survived by Lindsay, sons and their wives Hamish and Ceci, of Christchurch, Richard and Mel, Wellington, John and Caroline, New York, and grandchildren Emily, Zoe and Quinn; and by sisters Elizabeth Roy, Invercargill, and Kate McKinney, Dunedin.

The Southland Times