The wife of former Prime Minster Sir Robert Muldoon has died.

Dame Thea Muldoon passed away peacefully yesterday, aged 87.

The couple married in 1951 after meeting through the Junior Nationals. They had three children.

Dame Thea is also survived by four grandchildren, and four step-grandchildren.

Advertisement

Born Thea Dale Flyger, Lady Muldoon was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1993 New Year Honours, and awarded the Queen's Service Order in the 1986 New Year Honours.

Former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon with Miss Universe Lorraine Downes (centre) and Dame Thea Muldoon in 1983. Photo / NZ Herald archives
Former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon with Miss Universe Lorraine Downes (centre) and Dame Thea Muldoon in 1983. Photo / NZ Herald archives

A service to celebrate her life will be held at the All Saint's Chapel, in Meadowbank, on Tuesday March 3 at 1.30pm.

In lieu of flowers, her family have requested donations to St Andrews Village Trust.

Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer, who represents Orakei, issued a statement following Dame Thea's death.

"Muldoon's loveliest Lilly has gone," he said.

"She worked long and hard for New Zealand, and life wasn't always easy for her."

Referencing the 1977 Ngati Whatua occupation of Bastion Point, when Maori protested the lack of Treaty of Waitangi settlements with the Muldoon Government, Mr Brewer said: "Ironically she spent some of her final years as a tenant of Ngati Whatua at Orakei's Eastcliffe Retirement Village, just metres away from where the Bastion Point occupation was based for 507 days in the late 1970s, successfully resisting attempts by Sir Robert for the Whenua Rangatira to become housing."

The occupation only ended in May 1978 when 800 police and the New Zealand Army were used to forcibly remove the occupiers, arresting 222 protesters in the process. The land was returned to Ngati Whatua in the 1980s, with compensation.