Wanaka motel owner-operators Bill and Marjorie Durry, who
celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary today, have always
led an active lifestyle. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Keeping busy is the secret to a healthy life and happy
marriage, Wanaka couple Bill and Marjorie Durry say.
The pair - both in their early 80s and still working as motel
owner-operators - celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary
today, and are certain their active lifestyles and shared
love of sport, travel and people has helped them reach the
''We were never idle. In fact, we believe to keep well is to
be busily involved with body and mind,'' Mrs Durry said.
They first met as teenagers in Dunedin when Mr Durry - an
apprentice carpenter at the time - was altering the building
where Mrs Durry (nee Pybus) was working as an office girl.
''She said she would meet me at a St John's dance and I went
there with some football guys,'' said Mr Durry, a former
Otago Colts player.
Encouraged by their mutual interest in sport, they went on to
enjoy a ''platonic friendship'' for six years, Mrs Durry
During that time, her future husband worked hard at restoring
her family's home, which had fallen into disrepair after her
father died when she was in her early teens. Eventually,
their relationship developed into something more and the pair
got engaged, then were married on January 24, 1953, at St
Martin's Church in Northeast Valley.
''I've never had another girlfriend, ever. She's had plenty
of boyfriends,'' Mr Durry said with a chuckle.
The couple's long association with Wanaka was sparked in 1948
when 17-year-old Mr Durry helped members of the Otago Alpine
Club build Aspiring Hut. In 1962, as a self-employed builder,
he built four holiday homes in Wanaka. He subsequently built
the family's holiday home there before taking on a more
ambitious project - constructing the Panorama Court
accommodation complex on Lakeside Rd, which the couple opened
in 1969 and is still operating. After running the property
for 24 years, they sold it and Mr Durry, a former Lake
County councillor, built the neighbouring Durry Hills Motel
which opened in 2000 with ''a view to die for'' over Lake
Wanaka, and is still run by the couple today. They have no
intention of retiring, as being motel hosts brings endless
opportunities to meet ''terrifically interesting people''
from all over the world.
The couple have two children - son David, who helps out at
the motel after recently returning from England, and daughter
Jayne, who lives in Australia - and one grandchild.
Despite being ''workaholics'', their lives have not been all
work and no play. They have both been successful in their
respective sports over the years and have travelled together
extensively. They still regularly play golf in Wanaka, and
close the motel for several months every winter to escape to
Australia, where they own a house overlooking a golf course.
They are celebrating their anniversary in Nelson with their