Arrowtown husband-and-wife team cap successful year with national recognition

Media release from Bennie Builders

A Queenstown house has been recognised as one of the best in the country, signing off a successful year for the local building firm.

Up against stiff competition from 16 other builders across New Zealand, Arrowtown-based Bennie Builders was the only Southern Lakes company to pick up a national title at the 2017 Registered Master Builders House of the Year competition.

The company’s multi-award-winning three-level duplex on Queenstown’s Hallenstein Street was named the top home in the Multi-Unit New Home category.

On the night, judges described the home as an outstanding example of fine workmanship, bringing the architect’s creative vision and the owners’ dream to life.

The iconic house peers over downtown Queenstown, towards Lake Wakatipu and the mountains beyond, like a pair of stylish cedar-clad binoculars.

Having also won a Gold and Local Category Award at the Southern Region Registered Master Builders House of the Year competition in July, husband-and-wife team James and Mia Bennie said they were “delighted” to take the house to the next level.

“A national award like this is not only a proud moment for Mia and I, but also for all the other ‘hammers and hands’ involved in the build,” said James.

“It’s a real inspiration to all our staff and subcontractors to know we’ve produced a multi-award-winning project, giving our team real recognition for their skills and craftsmanship.”

Described as a “tough competition” by Mia, the prestigious House of the Year celebrates building excellence in New Zealand.

“It’s fantastic to be able to demonstrate that we can match the highest level of industry excellence, but also be judged ‘the best’ in New Zealand in our category,” she said.

“Being recognised by an industry leader like Master Builders shines light on our commitment to our eye for detail for any given project, no matter the size, site or budget.”

From one award-winning property, they’ve got their sights on the next.

The seven-year-old company is now working on a large luxury renovation project for owner of Madam Woo and Rata Restaurants Fleur Caulton and her family in Queenstown.

With no time to bask in the afterglow of their win, they are also working on a Jacks Point home and a Threepwood home in Ladies Mile.

Picture caption:

1/ Peering out over Lake Wakatipu like a pair of cedar-clad binoculars – the award-winning home from Bennie Builders of Arrowtown

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Shine bright – LUMA seeks partnerships with Queenstown Business Community

Media release from LUMA Southern Light Project

Enhancing and promoting the creative and cultural heart of Queenstown is at the core of the award-winning LUMA Southern Light Project.

It’s run by a group of dedicated and yet largely unknown young professionals who donate thousands of hours of their time to bringing the ‘life’ of the community back into the town centre.

LUMA takes place on Queens Birthday Weekend with four evenings of illuminated art, light sculptures and entertainment. LUMA is about connecting people, illuminating spaces, and bringing local and national artists and businesses together.

Thousands of locals and visitors braved winter temperatures to enjoy 38 site-specific installations. The glow of this year’s event had hardly faded before the six-strong creative team was already working on LUMA 2018.

Their goal? To open up an enlightening conversation and improve the creative landscape in Queenstown.

Trust chairman Duncan Forsyth says the LUMA team sees arts and culture as a vital vehicle for improving the future of the resort town.

“We want to appeal to locals with a layer of visitors wrapped around them. Like a village vibe bringing the ‘life’ of the community back into the town centre,” he says.

“We’re an international destination renowned for its adrenalin rush, but we all firmly believe we need to balance that out with culture and creativity.”

LUMA began with a 2015 pilot project as part of the town’s annual Winter Festival. In the two short years following, it has been a runaway success, growing from approximately 10,000 visitors in 2016 to 35,000 this year.

Its location in the iconic Queenstown Gardens has started to spread into the other areas, creating a magical glow around Queenstown Bay.

But the growth, while exciting, brings its own challenges.

“We’ve been so grateful for the event partners that contribute, through cash or cash in kind, to help cover the huge overheads in transporting artwork, creating installations, and projection set-ups,” says Duncan.

“The benefit of LUMA is significant when brings local families and visitors into town to create an energy that doesn’t exist at any other time of the year. The levels of community engagement with the event are simply outstanding, especially when you consider it’s in the middle of winter over a traditionally quiet Queen’s birthday weekend.

“But we need our vibrant business community’s help to ‘chip in’ creatively and financially to make this event sustainable. The oxygen for the event is money.

“The expectation of having such amazing pieces of artwork displayed in ‘our town’ comes at a cost, but we’re not a commercial event. LUMA is a community event which local people can be proud to be a part of.”

The three-year-old project was recently named Supreme Award winner in the Trustpower Queenstown Lakes Community Awards.

LUMA Southern Light Project, and the LUMA Light Festival Trust are supported by local government event funding and sponsors from all over Queenstown and Otago.

Queenstown Chamber of Commerce members are encouraged to come and hear more about the project at the Christmas Business After 5 presentation on December 13.

For a stunning video on this year’s event go here.

Picture caption:

1/ Mirror, Mirror, in the forest – A mirror ball installation was a favourite for crowds attending the 2017 LUMA Southern Light Project in Queenstown. Photo credit: Collab Photography

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Zamora The Meat Preachers flying high

Media release from Zamora The Meat Preachers

A stellar year of growth and recognition on a national scale has seen a Queenstown-based meat business go from strength to strength.

Zamora The Meat Preachers’ is flying high after a record year for its retail and wholesale operations, thanks to its loyal customer base and after notching up two prestigious gold awards against fierce competition.

South American-born directors Matias Mautone, 34, and Nicolas Karlsson, 37, launched Zamora in 2010 with a simple objective – to re-create the homemade food which they enjoyed with their families growing up.

They both had a real passion for meats and saw the opportunity to combine traditional South American and European recipes and techniques with fine New Zealand ingredients sourced from South Island producers.

Their love of delicious food and quality meat saw Zamora’s pork and sage sausage take home gold in the traditional category at Devro’s Great New Zealand Sausage Competition in October.

Their incredible crafted smoke porchetta also “wowed” judges and received a gold medal in the innovative category at the New Zealand Pork, Bacon and Ham Awards in July.

At their local deli shop in Queenstown they’ve been getting rave reviews for their daily-changing lunch menu which delivers a different sandwich each day, extremely popular with ‘in-the-know’ locals and the odd lucky visitor who finds them in their semi-industrial setting on the edge of town.

Their wholesale business sees them supply an ever-increasing list of discerning restaurants and award-winning cafés, and likewise their catering arm for events, weddings and corporate functions.

In seven years they’ve grown to a team of eight – the two directors, five ‘meat preachers’ and an accountant, and business has experienced exponential growth year-on-year.

The local deli shop and wholesale factory is home to a smorgasbord of artisan goods to please even the most discerning meat lover, including hand-crafted sausages, cured meats and salamis, delicious biltong and droewors snacks, and barbeque favourite chimichurri sauce.

Adding a modern twist to the Kiwi ‘barbie’, Matias says they’re proud of what they’ve achieved so far and hints at further growth and exposure to come in 2018.

“Our passion for meats is second to none,” says Matias.

“But it’s our people, culture and customers who sit at the heart of the business year-on-year.

“The continued support of local companies has enabled us to build lasting business relationships that give us the energy to succeed.

“Our growth has stemmed from product innovation and development, based predominately on retail and wholesale customer feedback. There’s no better way to grow your business!”

Matias and Nicolas’ passion for developing delicious flavours and providing high quality meats is a hit with Queenstowners and visitors to the weekly farmers market where the waft of meats cooked with love to order over the BBQ is impossible to resist.

“It’s an honour to wake up every day and share our childhood experiences with our community,” says Matias.

“High quality food and family traditions, there’s no better combination.”

Zamora’s deli shop on Industrial Place is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm, and at Remarkables Market every Saturday throughout summer from 9am to 2pm.

Photo caption:

1/ Zamora The Meat Preachers’ award-winning Smoke Porchetta

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