Vollie wins amateur playing spot in NZ Open

Vollie wins amateur playing spot in NZ Open

Sometime golfer Rachel Edmond has been a regular volunteer at the NZ Open at Millbrook Resort and The Hills since out-of-town friends convinced her it would be fun, and they could stay at her house.

For the past five years she’s been a ‘walker scorer’ among the team of 400-plus volunteers who are the engine room of the prestigious event.

But at the volunteer thank-you BBQ this year that all changed – when her name was drawn out of the hat to win a coveted amateur playing spot for next year’s championship.

“You never imagine your name will be called out and that the dubious pleasure of playing in the Open will be bestowed upon someone much more deserving,” she says.

Southlander Rachel, 51, a golfer for about 15 years, is a member of the Royal Wellington Golf Club and used to play off a handy 8 handicap. A two-year golfing hiatus however, resulting in a hip replacement in December, has her admitting she’s a long way off playing to that figure.

“I decided I’d need to implement a schedule of regular practice and play starting before the end of September. That gives me about five months to have a chance at achieving respectability.”

She loves living in Queenstown and usually plays with friends at Millbrook, Arrowtown Golf Club and occasionally The Hills.

“Of course it’s a huge treat for any amateur golfer to have the opportunity to play in an event such as the NZ Open, but I sense the reality will be a little startling,” she says. “It’s not the Saturday stableford.”

This Thursday (Sept 19) the NZ Open is launching its SBS Bank Volunteer Programme at Millbrook Resort as it says ‘thank you’ to around 30 hardworking volunteers from Cromwell Golf Club with a free 18-hole shotgun-start competition.

Cromwell volunteers have been a mainstay of the event over the years, taking ownership of a number of holes and managing them under the keen eye of Cromwell golf stalwart John McDonald.

The SBS Bank ‘army’ of volunteers take on a wide range of integral behind-the-scenes roles throughout the Open and relish the opportunity to get behind the ropes.

While many are local or from regional golf clubs, overseas volunteers are also part of the mix, with some coming each year from as far away as Scotland, California and Australia.

Next year’s NZ Open will be held from February 27 to March 1.

Anyone keen to help out can register for the SBS Bank Volunteer Programme through the website

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Plans finalised for Major Community Precinct at Remarkables Park, Queenstown

Plans finalised for Major Community Precinct at Remarkables Park, Queenstown

A multi-generational community precinct has been announced today for Remarkables Park, Queenstown’s fast-growing commercial, visitor accommodation and residential district.

Remarkables Park Limited said detailed plans had been finalised for a centrally-located community precinct to include a medical clinic, retirement village, a major new Salvation Army centre, a community centre, adjacent recreation park, and a further kindergarten and student tuition building.

The community precinct is immediately south of Wakatipu High School and extends from Red Oaks Drive through to Mountain Ash Drive.

Remarkables Park Ltd executive chairman Alastair Porter said the geographically-central approximately 4.5 hectare precinct was within the urban boundaries of the Shotover and Kawarau bridges. Its close proximity to the bulk of the Queenstown population made it a “socially and economically desirable” location.

The multi-storey Queenstown Clinic is designed to house a wide range of facilities including a General Practice doctors, a pharmacy, café, physio and sports rehabilitation facilities, Skin Institute Queenstown, a dental surgery, ophthalmology centre, and patient visitor accommodation.

The Pacific Radiology MRI unit, currently housed in a nearby relocatable building, will be able to move into the ground floor of the Queenstown Clinic.

The top floor of the clinic has been designed to accommodate a private hospital facility. Following a decision by Southern Cross to build outside the urban boundaries, Remarkables Park Ltd (RPL) says it is in discussion with other parties for this facility.

Mr Porter said that, as a large scale developer with centrally-located land outside the airport’s noise boundaries, RPL believed it was also a “responsible approach” to hold land aside within the planned community precinct for future consideration for hospital expansion facilities to service Queenstown in the long term.

A large, vertical retirement village with space for up to five tower blocks, all with exceptional views, is planned as part of the community precinct. It will feature a pool, exercise facilities and other desirable retirement amenities.

The approved two-storey Salvation Army building will house a large shop, offices, meeting rooms and a congregation area downstairs, with more office and administration space upstairs. Building is expected to start in 2020.

The clinic is ready to go to the Queenstown Lakes District Council Design Review Board in October and the retirement village, kindergarten and tuition centre are all in design stages.

“It’s important to note that this precinct is designed as a cluster of co-located key community facilities in an area that is already fully-zoned for this purpose,” said Mr Porter.

“In the case of a major civil defence emergency it’s also in very close proximity to the airport, fire services, the existing hospital, the Events Centre, the High School and Remarkables Primary School, and close to where the conference centre is being built.”

A Queenstown Trails Trust bike and walking trail bordering the north side of the community precinct will connect the precinct to Remarkables Park’s Market Street, and to the Kawarau riverbank trails and further high-density residential to the north.

Mr Porter has been working on the Queenstown Clinic and community centre plans with Skin Institute Queenstown director Dr Hans Raetz.

“We’ve been working on this for a long time and I’m delighted that we are finally at the stage where it is ready to go,” said Dr Raetz.

“It’s the perfect location, extremely centrally located, and great to be clustering medical facilities alongside other major community hubs such as schools, a community centre and other care organisations, high-density residential and the Remarkables Park Town Centre.”

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Housemart Queenstown top of its field in property management

Housemart Queenstown top of its field in property management

An outstanding culture and a client referral rate that would be the envy of any other business has once again propelled a Queenstown-based property management company to the top of its field.

The eight-strong team at Housemart Queenstown left larger city firms in their dust as they picked up the title of Property Management Company of the Year for the second year running.

Not to be outdone, team member Nadia Hubbard picked up a top three placing in the Property Manager of the Year category while Housemart owner Hayley Stevenson also grabbed a podium position as a finalist in the Business Development Manager of the Year awards category.

Since launching in 2011, Housemart has established a solid reputation as one of the best property management firms in the country, leading the way with innovative systems, technology, service and customer care.

It’s won multiple awards over the years which Hayley puts down to its investment in workplace culture, building the entire brand on the values of internal and external relationships.

“Focusing on our internal office environment and culture means our property managers are proud to be part of the Housemart brand and this shines through to their clients,” says Hayley.

“Our big focus on culture means we’re able to foster authentic and meaningful connections and deliver exceptional service to clients, which in turn pays off with 99% of clients coming from referrals.

“We’re the rental specialists in Queenstown and we only do property management, we’re not interested in being involved in sales.”

Housemart picked up the latest awards for its already groaning trophy cabinet at the annual 2019- 2020 Leading Property Managers Association Awards, held in Auckland.

Hayley Stevenson said they were “extremely excited” to receive their awards and accolades.

“We’re still a very small company compared to many in our industry which makes it even more special. We’d like to thank locals for their amazing support, the owners and our fantastic clients who rent our homes, and of course the dedicated team of tradespeople who help us on a daily basis.”

In recent weeks Housemart also made the top three in New Zealand for the REINZ Property Management Company of the Year Award, in the medium business category.

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Ziptrek Ecotours supports planting programmes in build up to Conservation Week

Leading eco-tourism company Ziptrek Ecotours supports planting programmes in build up to Conservation Week

Staff from Queenstown’s leading eco-tourism company Ziptrek Ecotours joined green-fingered students to plant flaxes and native grasses as part of a nationwide Paper4Trees programme.

Ziptrek’s strong sustainability commitment means it has been a gold sponsor of the Paper4Trees programmes for the past seven years.

Yesterday it supported students from eight Central Otago Enviro Schools from Cromwell, Wanaka, Alexandra, Queenstown, Tarras and Clyde in planting over 40 flax and Toi Toi in the Matakauri Wetlands on the outskirts of Queenstown.

Paper4trees is a waste minimisation and tree planting initiative that rewards schools and preschools with one native plant for every two cubic metres of paper and cardboard recycled.

The initiative is supported by the Otago Regional Council, Wanaka Wastebusters and the Queenstown Lakes District Council, with QLDC Mayor Jim Boult praising their efforts.

Queenstown’s award-winning Ziptrek Ecotours is celebrating 10 years in business this year, as the pioneers of ziplining in New Zealand. At its heart, it’s an eco-tourism company, aiming to educate and inspire others towards long-term environmental and sustainable practices.

Next week Ziptrek is throwing itself into a number of new initiatives as part of Conservation Week.

On Monday (Sept 16) it hosts a panel discussion in partnership with the Department of Conservation on tourism’s role in conservation. It will be held at the Ziptrek Shop at 45 Camp Street, Queenstown, from 6pm to 7pm.

On Thursday (Sept 19) there will be a Predator-Free Partners in the Wakatipu trapping workshop presented by Ziptrek and the Kiwi Birdlife Park at the Park from 5.30pm to 7pm.

The week finishes on Friday September 20 with a look behind the scenes at Ziptrek on site at the Ziptrek Tree House on Gondola Hill from 10am.

All events are listed on Eventfinda and Facebook Events. All are welcome and the events are free.

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Go Orange goes above and beyond

Go Orange goes above and beyond

Innovative tourism operator Go Orange, based in New Zealand’s stunning South Island, has notched up yet another award for its trophy cabinet.

Following a year of fast-paced success and industry ‘gongs’, Go Orange picked up another accolade when it was named Fiordland Tourism Operator of the Year 2019 this weekend.

Going the extra mile to deliver industry-leading visitor and employee experiences is a hallmark of the company, which in the past year has been named New Zealand’s fastest growing service company by Deloitte and ranked 37th in the Deloitte Fast 50.

General Manager Luke Taylor was named TIA emerging Leader of the Year, and Go Orange was a national finalist in the Humankind Employee Experience Awards.

Never one to rest on its laurels, in the past 12 months the company has launched the renovated Milford Haven cruise boat experience in Milford Sound, a new state-of-the-art coach fleet, and a purpose-designed and built fleet of unimogs to add additional elements of fun and exploration to its rafting experiences.

Fiordland Tourism Awards judges said Go Orange had shown leadership in the industry by developing unique products in Milford and Doubtful Sounds as well as Queenstown.

This summer Go Orange launches its own Fiordland-specific guidebook with information about the sounds, their flora and fauna, key points of interest in the national park and on board the Milford Haven. The book supports Tourism New Zealand’s Tiaki Promise by highlighting the responsibility kiwis (and visitors) have in respecting and caring for New Zealand’s precious landscape.

Go Orange is also currently nominated as a finalist in the best tour/activity category of the Australia & New Zealand Adventure Tourism Awards 2019. The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of tourism businesses servicing the backpacker, youth and adventure travel sector in both countries. A public vote on the awards counts for 30% of the score and the rest is up to a panel of judges.

“I’m incredibly proud of the team here at Go Orange, who have built an adventurous, fun, and innovative brand,” says GM Luke Taylor.

“Our mantra is ‘Go Beyond’, inspiring and challenging visitors to become travellers, to go deeper, further and beyond the average tourist. I’d like to think we’re doing just that.”

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