Acknowledging the life of Lady Christina McCombs QSM

Remembering Lady Christina McCombs, who cooked whitebait for the Queen, and passed away just short of her 100th birthday this August. ♥

In 1955, Lady McCombs married Sir Terence McCombs, a former Lyttelton MP and the first principal of Cashmere High School. She took in his four children Elizabeth, David, Peter and Patrick and gave birth to their youngest child John. In 1956 when Terence McCombs took up the role as the first Headmaster of Cashmere High School she played an influential role in helping shape the new school – Including choosing the school colours (maroon and gold), logo, original uniform design and digging out the original swimming pool.

“Together they shaped Cashmere and in turn Cashmere shaped them both,” said her son Peter McCombs.

She went to the United Kingdom in 1974 to support her husband as the appointed New Zealand High Commissioner in London.
The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other dignitaries came to New Zealand House in London to attend an official dinner which featured whitebait.

“She found herself in the position of having to roll up her sleeves and help with cooking and serving of the fresh whitebait. The hired professional chefs found themselves completely mystified when 5kg of fresh whitebait arrived having just been flown in from New Zealand,” said Peter McCombs.

Lady McCombs attended Christchurch Girls’ High School before she trained in home science and taught at the then Christchurch Technical College.

She was involved with Cashmere High School, Sumner School, joined in and supported many local groups and served on committees. She was also a patron with Plunket and worked with mothers through branches in Redcliffs, Heathcote, Ferrymead and Woolston.

Lady McCombs was a well-known figure for her contributions to education and the wider community. Christina was awarded the Queens Service Medal for community Service in the 2007 New Year Honours.

Past and present staff and students from the school attended her funeral, and our Cashmere High School community’s sympathy and condolences are with her family.