Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park marks 35th anniversary with ‘35 for 35’ campaign

Thirty-five years of outstanding contributions to the survival of New Zealand’s unique species is under threat at Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park. 

Thirty-five years of outstanding contributions to the survival of New Zealand’s unique species is under threat at Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park.

As the park marks the milestone anniversary this year, celebrations are muted as it faces the very real possibility of closure without continued funding and financial support.

So with the Easter break and school holidays just around the corner, it’s launching a ’35 for 35’ campaign for the month of April, encouraging each visitor to donate $35 for the experience — a mere dollar for each year of wildlife conservation. 

The park has been a labour of love for the Wilson family – 35 years ago metalsmith Dick Wilson and his wife Noeleen had an unlikely ‘vision’ of building the resort town’s first birdlife and conservation park on an overgrown piece of wasteland.  

Today that same park is owned by their son Paul and his wife Sandra, and their own son Richard also works in the business.

Over the decades it’s attracted thousands of visitors every year and is recognised nationwide for its conservation success stories, taking part in a number of ‘breed-for-release’ programmes and displaying over 20 species of native wildlife. It’s also planted nearly 20,000 native trees to provide essential food and shelter to wild native birds.

Now the future is looking grim, with revenue down 80% year-to-date and funding from the Wildlife Institute Relief Fund only covering a proportion of overall costs. Those costs are incurred whether they’re open or not, with two or three keepers required on site every day to care for and feed the wildlife.

Understandably, Paul Wilson says the family is incredibly saddened by the downturn after 35 years of hard work.  

“We’re trying so many new and different ways to keep our head above water, but this is more than just about the money,” he says.

“This park has always been about wildlife survival. We’re passionate about wildlife and so are all our staff.

“We’ve developed one of the best whio breeding programmes in the country and it would be a devastating loss to the whio population if this couldn’t continue. In 2019 and 2020 we built an outstanding new Kiwi House which we’re still paying off, so we’d really love to share this amazing new exhibit with some visitors.

“We’re so proud of what we’ve built up here but this is the biggest challenge we’ve faced in 35 years and we need support more than ever. We need people to come and see one of the biggest kiwi display houses in the country, celebrate our breeding programmes in the knowledge that they’re contributing to future conservation success, and enjoy the conservation show which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

“We know we’re loved by locals and by visitors from near and far, so everyone who visits will know their $35is going a very long way, hopefully for the next 35 years, for a very good cause.”  

KEY KIWI BIRDLIFE PARK MILESTONES:

  1. January 13 1986 opened its doors to it’s first visitors
  2. 1989 – Joins captive breed-for-release programme for critically endangered black stilts with only 23 left in the world. 
  3. 1996 – First kiwi (Koru) hatched at the park.
  4. 2001 – Conservation Show launched, first free-flight bird show in New Zealand. 
  5. 2004 – First Haast tokoeka (kiwi) chick hatched, the first time this species ever hatched in captivity.
  6. 2005- Our audio guide, a self guided audio tour, launched. 
  7. 2010 – New enclosure showcases NZ’s sub-antarctic island species. 
  8. 2012 – Joins captive breed-for-release programme for whio (blue duck)
  9. 2013- Became the first institute in NZ to be accredited with providing positive animal welfare.
  10. 2015 – New reptile wing built.
  11. 2017- celebrated the release of our 200th pateke duckling into the wild since the year 2000. 
  12. 2018 – Bush regeneration programme was intensified with the cutting down of 129 invasive pine and fir trees and the planting of 5,000 native trees.
  13. 2019- New falcon exhibit built and breed for release programme for South Island kaka started.
  14. 2020 – State-of-the-art new Kiwi House built  
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Jenni Powell joins IT services business Both Brains as GM

Well-known Queenstown general manager, Jenni Powell, has taken up a new role in the IT services industry with Both Brains. 

Well-known Queenstown general manager, Jenni Powell, has taken up a new role in the IT services industry with Both Brains.

Jenni Powell has taken the helm of IT services company Both Brains in a newly-created GM role.

Formerly general manager at VisitorPoint Ltd, and previously New Zealand Sales Manager for Southern Discoveries and the InterCity Group, Jenni has also been chair of the Backpacker Youth Adventure Tourism Association (BYATA) since 2019.

Both Brains provides services for a wide range of business from SME’s to large multinational companies, and recent expansion into the tourism sector is a natural fit for Jenni’s background and network.

“I’m stoked to join the Both Brains team as I know first-hand how essential it is to work with forward-thinking solution driven partners aiming to take the pain points away from day-to-day operations,” says Jenni.

“So many of the services Both Brains continues to offer to clients in different industries would be of immense value to tourism businesses. In the current environment it’s critical that businesses see good value for spend, the ability to scale on demand and work with partners they know they can trust to get the job done.”

Both Brains founder and managing director Ryan Howard has welcomed Jenni to the role, which is based in Queenstown.

“Jenni is known to be an extremely hard worker, very professional and always passionate about the business she is in, which are qualities we live by at Both Brains,” he says.

“We’ve seen good growth over the last few years which is why we’re investing in a GM enabling me to concentrate on the technical side of the business. Jenni’s experience in managing businesses through growth and her customer-focused approach will be a welcome addition to our team.”

Both Brains has just celebrated eight years in business and Ryan took the opportunity post-lockdown to enjoy the lifestyle Queenstown offers while running his Auckland business remotely.

“There’s massive growth in Queenstown in the tech sector. Pre covid, global connectivity was easy with an international airport on our doorstep. Investing further and bringing Jenni onboard locally is the perfect opportunity to expand our reach and a ‘no brainer’ for me,” he says.

Ryan says Jenni has first-hand knowledge of the current challenges facing the tourism industry.

“We’re hoping we have the perfect solution — world class service and easily scalable packages. Our services are used by businesses in all industries but really do lend themselves to tourism operators wanting to ensure they’re the most effective they can be with smaller workforces, and ready to rapidly scale up when international borders re-open.”

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Ziptrek Ecotours launches world’s first augmented zipline tour

Award-winning Ziptrek Ecotours in Queenstown, New Zealand, is taking its first steps in combining adventure tourism with digital storytelling. 

Award-winning Ziptrek Ecotours in Queenstown, New Zealand, is taking its first steps in combining adventure tourism with digital storytelling.  

With tourism going through massive change and upheaval, Ziptrek’s built on its reputation as a renowned leader in eco-tourism to incorporate XR (extended reality) technologies into adventure tourism.

Ziptrek perceives its focus is as a storyteller, contextualizing its place in nature and creating meaningful ‘wow’ moments of travel.

Business owner Trent Yeo says the challenge was to take the perception of XR as being one of technological immersion for many young people in particular, and refocus the technology application to one of nature interaction.

“That’s the basis on which we’ve developed our animated tour guide ‘Kerry the Kereru’, taking people out on our very real, touchable environments in our treehouses and on our ziplines with our guides, as always, but with the addition of a light digital overlay,” he says.

The new Kereru Interactive tour (known as K.I for short) features animated tour guide Kerry the Kereru voiced by local Kiwi author and singer Craig Smith, known to Kiwi kids and families everywhere as the Wonky Donkey man.

While the technology is still nascent and XR business cases still developing, Ziptrek is excited to build this experiment in human interaction. Alongside human guides, Kerry is a digital avatar that travels with guests as they’re taken back in time and through a physical forest zipline course. In keeping with the company’s environmental focus the story is about Aotearoa, the land of birds.

Trent says whether guests remember Roger Rabbit or Pokemon Go, this is Ziptrek’s ‘first step’ blended environment where digital assets are contextualized by spectacular natural surroundings.

“We look forward to the opportunities that augmented and mixed realities (XR) can create in the intersection with a real-life tourism experience,” he says.

The project team has been working for about 18 months, with the release delayed by Covid.  Alongside Ziptrek, its technology partner Plattar worked tirelessly to bring this to market when many businesses were contracting R&D investment.

Plattar founder Rupert Deans says the platform enables leading tourism operators like Ziptrek to move beyond traditional tourism delivery by unlocking the power of 3D and augmented reality, creating unique and shareable moments for guests.

“The tourism space is one of the most exciting expressions of this technology. We’re excited to work with Trent and Ziptrek on this pilot and look forward to building further on this,” he says.

The innovative Kereru Interactive will feature the exciting 21m ‘Kereru Drop’ after guests travel along two ziplines. For those who prefer not to do ‘the drop’ and are a bit more marginal than a Kereru at flying, there’s an alternative option to return via a small exit zipline.

The tour officially launches this month with booking available from Monday March 29. The K.I. product will take an hour and is available at an introductory price of $89, available for the first month for direct bookings via the website and in store before extending to its trade partners.

Social media handles are #kereruinteractive, #ki, #ziptreknz  #ziplinesnz  

Check out the details on the K.I promotional video here 

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Young Landscaper of the Year and national awards medal bonanza for Southern Landmarx

Queenstown landscaping company Southern Landmarx had a glittering night at the Landscapes of Distinction Awards in Christchurch over the weekend.

Queenstown landscaping company Southern Landmarx had a glittering night at the Landscapes of Distinction Awards in Christchurch over the weekend.

Not only did they bring home an outstanding three gold and three silver medals for two Cromwell-based landscape projects, but their Operations Manager Tama Ritter won New Zealand Young Landscaper of the Year.

Southern Landmarx directors Jaye and Joe Nutting paid tribute to the “hard work and determination” shown by Tama in winning the national title.

“We’re all extremely proud of him after he came to us seven years ago knowing nothing about landscaping, but he’s worked his way up from an apprentice to the top,” said Jaye.

Tama, 28, said he had found his day of practical tests, a speech and interviews, up against 12 other competitors, “a bit nerve wracking and daunting.”

He won two Outstanding Achievement awards in Career Development and Communications before he was named the overall winner at the gala dinner presentation.

“It was such a surprise to hear my name being called out and it still hasn’t really sunk in, to be honest,” he said. “But I see it as confirmation of how far I have come in the industry, and it’s the cherry on top of all the hard work over the years.

“I love landscaping because it isn’t just one skillset, it’s such a wide variety of work. Each project has new and interesting challenges.

“You take a ‘blank’ landscape around some awesome houses and then the visual aspect of what we add is huge. It’s like dressing the house so it’s shown off to its full advantage, maximising the landscape and its surrounds.”

Southern Landmarx faced stiff competition from a record number of entries from all around New Zealand for the landscape awards.

The company won an impressive two gold medals in landscape construction and landscape horticulture for its Clutha River Views entry, as well as a silver for design. It also won a gold medal in landscape construction for its Dunstan Vista residence along with two silvers for design and horticulture.

Jaye and Joe said it was a “fantastic acknowledgement” of the hard work that had gone into the two properties by their 16-strong team.

“We also want to acknowledge the vision and dedication of the owners and their collaborative approach which has enabled us to do so well across these three key residential landscape categories,” said managing director Joe.

“We’re thrilled to win these awards which recognise and celebrate the high-quality design and construction of our work, and our ability to use plants that have been locally raised and ‘hardened off’ in our Cromwell-based Burn Cottage Nursery.”

Joe said the Clutha River Views project was a “particularly inspiring” garden to work on due to the owners’ desire to incorporate an historical element into a new build, integrating elements of their past home to which they had an emotional attachment following the Christchurch earthquakes.

The Dunstan Vista project was inspired by family, meeting not only the needs of the clients but their grandchildren. For that reason it incorporated an expansive lawn for the children to play, a pool area for the heat of summer and a unique, peaceful seating area away from the main home where the owners could relax while soaking up the views.

For more information about Southern Landmarx go to www.slx.co.nz

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Lake Hawea sections hit the market at Longview

One of the most eagerly-awaited developments in the ‘hot’ Queenstown Lakes property market has hit the market this week.

One of the most eagerly-awaited developments in the ‘hot’ Queenstown Lakes property market has hit the market this week.

Universal Developments has released the first tranche of sections at Longview in Lake Hawea, meaning offers can be made now.

Just 55 bare sections are being released on the 35ha development for 2021, on a stunning piece of land that’s just three minutes from the Lake Hawea water’s edge and a short drive from Wanaka.

Section prices start at $239,000 and are being marketed as ideal for first-home buyers, many of whom are struggling to get on the property ladder in the current market, retirees and those looking for the perfect holiday home.

Lake Hawea is renowned for its recreational opportunities including boating, mountain biking, kayaking and walking. Access to Wanaka’s world-renowned ski areas is less than an hour’s drive away.

The Wanaka and Lake Hawea areas are among the fastest growing in the country – just recently a plan to develop a massive film park on the outskirts of Wanaka was hailed as a “game-changer”. Silverlight Studioshas been given Government approval to apply under special Covid-19 legislation for a fast-tracked consent application to build film studios, production offices and a film and technology school.

Harcourts Wanaka agents Eamon and Riki Young say that in a fast-moving property market, buying land off the plan might just be the smartest way to make the most of record low interest rates and stake a claim in the Queenstown Lakes real estate market.

With some of the most affordable sections and packages in the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes districts, the area is being seen as a future satellite township for Wanaka and Eamon Young believes it won’t take long for land to be snapped up.

Affordable land and home packages will also be available with a range of local building companies lining up to work on options for buyers ranging from $499,000 to $549,000, $599,000 and $650,000, all under the ceiling for the Home Start Grant. There are also packages above the $650,000 figure.

Ten group homebuilders will each have a show home in a dedicated precinct at the subdivision.

“We’re already seeing strong interest in the initial release, and as it’s first-come first-served, those quick off the mark can choose their section and get underway with building their dream home,” says Eamon.

Longview has consent in place for a childcare centre and for a commercial building containing a licensed café, offices and commercial tenancies. It also features two large reserves and children’s playground.

Titles on the first sections are expected in April 2022. All enquiries can be directed to [email protected].

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Millbrook Resort forges ahead with investment in new development

Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort is forging ahead with substantial investment plans as it works towards opening nine new golf holes later this year.

Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort is forging ahead with substantial investment plans as it works towards opening nine new golf holes later this year.

In a boost to New Zealand golf tourism, a $4million-plus infrastructure investment is aimed at enhancing the five star resort’s guest experience in preparation for the launch of its 36-hole golf offering.

In addition to the resort’s existing 27-holes, the new nine golf holes recently constructed will make Millbrook one of only two golf courses in New Zealand to offer two distinctly different 18-hole courses.

Golf construction works start March 2021 on a new practice putting green near the golf shop and reception building, along with the reconfiguration of tees on the Remarkables No. 1 hole. This work makes way for the construction of new golf cart storage barns and cart wash-down facilities.

A 25m-wide tree lined boulevard will be created between the new cart barns and golf shop, which has been designed as a shared space for pedestrians, golf carts and vehicles from the reception area towards The Spa, Health & Fitness Centre and the new Coronet golf course.

The golf shop will also receive major alterations and renovations including French doors opening out onto a new deck towards the starters area, and new retail fit-out.

An improved arrival court adjacent to the reception building will create a larger, safer and easier to navigate forecourt with views over the new practice putting green and towards The Remarkables. Significant hard and soft landscaping improvements designed by Baxter Design and a new porters’ shed complete improvements in this area.

Millbrook’s Director of Property and Development Ben O’Malley says the latest project is part of continued planned investment in resort development and improvements.

Work is nearly complete on the $50m development of the Mill Farm area of Millbrook which houses the new golf holes and two residential neighbourhoods. The 67-hectare site will be home to what Millbrook believes to be the highest commercial golf tee in the country at 480 metres above sea level.

“We continue to invest in the resort’s long-term future and the timing could not be better to carry out this work in the build-up to next summer and the 2022 New Zealand Open,” he says.

“With a carefully planned work sequence we don’t anticipate the work will have any major impact on our visitors, golfers and members but we very much appreciate their patience while it’s underway.”

Work is anticipated to be completed in December this year.

A video of the new Mill Farm development is here.

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Ziptrek Ecotours takes eco-education to new heights 

Ziptrek Ecotours aims to educate and inspire New Zealand’s leaders of tomorrow towards long-term environmental and sustainable practices with a pioneering new eco-education outdoor learning programme in Queenstown.

Ziptrek Ecotours aims to educate and inspire New Zealand’s leaders of tomorrow towards long-term environmental and sustainable practices with a pioneering new eco-education outdoor learning programme in Queenstown.

The company is using its architecturally designed treehouses and ziplines high on Bob’s Peak as an ‘outdoor classroom’ to showcase sustainable tourism at work and how businesses can future-proof for environmental, social and financial success.

The interactive eco-education programme is primarily aimed at tertiary students, career advisors and educators and is a practical ‘take’ on the STEM curriculum of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  Tours are custom-designed to align with each group’s academic requirements.

Science is covered off with discussions on Ziptrek’s biodiversity, introduced species and Predator Free 2050 support as well as its work in becoming a Carbon Zero business. Technology talks to the systems and design used to streamline Ziptrek’s business, such as remote area solar energy powering cameras and gates, while the structural design benefits and challenges of the treehouses and ziplines is a must for engineers. Maths is applied to the metrics measuring Ziptrek’s business and the physics and cable design in ziplines.

The two-hour experience starts from $49 per person and includes a tailored talk by one of the team, a site exploration, and a zip down the world’s steepest tree to tree zipline – dropping 30 storeys in 10 seconds at speeds of up to 70kmph.   There are also options to upgrade to either the four-line Moa Tour or premium six-line Kea tour.

The outdoor learning initiative aligns with Ziptrek’s deep commitment to education, sustainability and conservation.   It forms part of its ongoing work under New Zealand’s Tourism Sustainability Commitment and the Future-Fit framework, a global and open-sourced sustainability framework relating to UN development goals.

Other initiatives within its education programme include a Paper4Trees recycling project with pre-schools and schools, and Queenstown Resort College internships.

Ziptrek executive director Trent Yeo believes that while COVID-19 has created opportunity for a tourism reset and renewed focus on sustainability, more education is needed to achieve New Zealand’s vision to lead the world in sustainable tourism.

“We hope our new eco-education tour will help inform, inspire and empower New Zealand’s leaders of tomorrow to think more deeply about doing business in a way that creates long-term value for our people, our economy and our environment,” he says.

“Our tour turns theory into practice through ‘outside the classroom’ learning and helps participants experience first-hand some of the exciting and innovative career pathways within the tourism industry.

“We also demonstrate how our business decisions, centred around making the right call for the environment and our community, have translated into a world-class adventure experience and sustainable tourism business.”

Early uptake on the programme has proven successful with several tertiary institutions, including ARA Institute of Canterbury and the Auckland-based Crown Institute of Studies, which provides training in travel and tourism hospitality, health and wellbeing, business and computing, giving it rave reviews.

“I’ve heard from all the career advisors and teachers who experienced your programme that your company is inspirational and futuristic,” says Dr Josephine Do, Managing Director of Crown Institute of Studies.

Career/education advisors from Southland Careers and Transition Education (CATE) also visited recently to better understand employment possibilities for young people from their region, careers in the tourism sector and how places like Queenstown are adapting in response to a COVID world.

The programme’s been welcomed by regional tourism body Destination Queenstown which also presents to visiting groups.

“Ziptrek is one of many Queenstown operators which has thought outside the square to develop new and exciting programmes and product in the aftermath of Covid,” says DQ acting General Manager Ann Lockhart.

“We’re fully supportive of their education initiative, especially as this helps us demonstrate that there IS a future in tourism for our young people, with exciting and innovative career pathways in the industry. We have some of the best tourism operators in the country running businesses here.”

For more information about tour options visit www.ziptrek.co.nz/groups/

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Iconic high-country station in heart of South Island comes onto market

An high-country farms in the heart of the South Island’s spectacular Aoraki Mt Cook region is coming onto the open market.

One of the most iconic high-country farms in the heart of the South Island’s spectacular Aoraki Mt Cook region is coming onto the open market.

Set in the expansive Mackenzie Basin on the shores of Lake Pukaki, Irishman Creek Station, a standout 8678ha property, is home to a profitable farming operation, has substantial potential for future tourism development and is revered worldwide as the birthplace of the Hamilton Jet.

Located 16km south of Lake Tekapo, the spectacular asset includes over 6000ha of freehold land with two additional leasehold blocks, a significant percentage of freehold land compared to many other high-country stations in the district.

It was one of the last farms to be issued consent for water irrigation within the Mackenzie Basin, with water sourced from the Tekapo B hydro canal, and the current owners have made significant investment into farming infrastructure.

The farm spans across State Highway 8 to the lake and is completely accessible by vehicle, a rarity in a property of this scale.

Using sustainable practice methods, the farm produces some of the country’s finest beef, deer and Merino wool products, generating its own feed and stock.  Further investment into hydro and solar power would enable it to be completely off-grid.

In the early 1950’s Irishman Creek Station made its mark in international history as home to the development of the Hamilton Jet Boat and many other engineering feats by previous owner Sir Bill Hamilton.

Accommodation, farm experiences and Hamilton Jet museum visits already attract domestic and international tourists to the station, although new owners could further develop the tourism portfolio with potential to build a new homestead or lodge adjacent to the glacial blue waters of Lake Pukaki.

Marketing the commercial sale of the station including the thriving business are leading NAI HarcourtsWanaka agents Guy and Sheryl Alty.

“We are privileged and proud to bring such a rare and outstanding property to market, a spectacular and strategic asset for any buyer,” says Sheryl.

Tenders on the property close at 4pm on Friday March 5 2021 and it’s expected to attract interest from Kiwis, syndicates, an existing landholder looking to add to their portfolio, expats or overseas buyers.

“A very limited number of landholdings of this size and scale, incorporating a profitable farming operation and substantial potential for future development, ever come to the open market,” says Guy Alty.

“Someone with a vision and a passion for this undeniably beautiful piece of land will be our buyer. There are many options for a new owner to explore, potentially an existing landowner or farmer looking to add to their portfolio and increase stock numbers, or an entrepreneurial business catering to the tourism market with a long-term plan to maximise its potential.

“Irishman Creek Station is strategically positioned to further capitalise on all this region has to offer and Sheryl and I welcome all enquiries.”

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Kiwi hospitality businesses ‘chomping at the bit’ to invest in food safety technology

A Queenstown company is going from strength to strength with its food safety app as New Zealand’s hospitality sector continues to invest in digital tools to achieve greater efficiency and sustainability.

A Queenstown company is going from strength to strength with its food safety app as New Zealand’s hospitality sector continues to invest in digital tools to achieve greater efficiency and sustainability.

The Kiwi-owned and operated ‘Chomp’ app – which launched in 2016 — is increasing its reach with thousands of restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, aged care and retail operators signed up around New Zealand.

Streamlining compliance is a priority for the food service industry and despite disruptions created by the pandemic, uptake of the app continues to grow.

Chomp’s work in the sector has been recognised — late last year Chomp founder Paul Wilson was highly commended by the Ministry of Primary Industries for his work on food safety processes in the Significant Contribution to Food Safety Award category.

The easy-to-use app reduces administration time and simplifies compliance for chefs, kitchen staff and business owners, ensuring they are always audit-ready.

Paperwork is (literally) a thing of the past.

Chomp’s automated features include real-time status of food safety tasks, the ability to update the statutory business Food Control Plan at any time, training and maintenance reminders, and easy-to-access reporting to help with decision-making and improvements.

The app’s been developed with industry professionals to ensure it meets all legislative requirements of the New Zealand and Australian Food Safety Acts (FSANZ), both current and planned. Auditors have found it particularly helpful as it streamlines paper recording.

When signing up for Chomp, businesses go through a simple onboarding process which makes them fully digital within an hour.  A support team of Kiwi-based hospitality professionals provides one-on-one training and year-round support.

Queenstown-based Chomp founder Paul Wilson, with more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, says his motivation for developing Chomp was believing “there had to be a better way” to stay ahead of food safety requirements, training and paperwork.

“Being in the industry ourselves we knew full well the time and energy it takes businesses to stay compliant.  With the increasing requirements of the Food Act we spent a lot of time just ensuring our records were up to date and accurate.

“We developed Chomp as a ‘by industry, for industry’ app and we’re thrilled to hear the difference it’s making to our colleagues. It effectively eliminates years of paperwork in a flash and is a game-changer in efficiency and sustainability.

“Our clients have moved from time-intensive paper-based food control plans to simple, streamlined digital plans which makes passing a yearly audit a far less time-consuming and stressful exercise.

“We were delighted to be highly commended at the MPI awards for our significant contribution to food safety and are working hard on further innovations and partnerships. Opportunities and developments coming up this year are really exciting.”

Most importantly, chefs who have worked with Chomp become ‘Chompions’.

“When they move from one kitchen to another they take Chomp with them like they’d take a great set of knives,” laughs Paul. “They’re our greatest advocates.”

For more information about Chomp please visit www.chomp.nz.

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Christmas property rush – $70m of sales in two days for Gibbston Valley development

Over $70million in sales have been notched up in two days for homes and sections in Queenstown’s idyllic Gibbston Valley.

Over $70million in sales have been notched up in two days for homes and sections in Queenstown’s idyllic Gibbston Valley.

Record levels of enquiry came from around New Zealand, Australia and the US for properties in a $750million luxury development at Gibbston Valley Station, within hours of them hitting the market.

Fifteen properties were put under contract on day one, with a further 30-plus properties put on hold by buyers yesterday (Tuesday December 22).

Would-be buyers are already snapping up a further 20 properties in Release Three, put on the market at short notice to meet the unprecedented level of demand.

The luxury development has already attracted high-profile buyers including former prime minister Sir John Key, cricket star Brendon McCullum and former professional rugby player, referee and Fiji coach Glen Jackson.

The 1000-acre station development is located on Gibbston Valley Station, co-owned by Gibbston Valley Winery, Lodge and Spa CEO Greg Hunt and US-based Phil Griffiths. Its nestled in one of Central Otago’s finest wine-growing regions set between craggy mountain ranges and the fast-flowing Kawarau River.

The homes range in price from $1.35m plus GST for a two-bedroom architecturally-designed 125m2 property to $4.5m plus GST for a stunning two-storey four-bedroom home.

Harcourts Queenstown agent Hamish Walker, who is marketing the development, says buyers have been emailing, facetiming and calling into the early hours of the morning to secure a property.

“The Harcourts team and I have never experienced anything like this, and that’s no exaggeration.

“We’ve been working 22-hour-plus days to keep up with demand and ensure we respond to buyers who clearly are keen to gift themselves the ultimate Christmas present!”

All available properties are on the market this afternoon with a hold put on further releases due to the heavy demand.

Former Prime Minister John Key, one of the first to sign up for a property, says he’s “unsurprised” by the level of sales.

“This is a very, very unique product and I can see why kiwis are flocking to this,” he says.

Glen Jackson even managed to put his name down on a property from the confines of his quarantine hotel.

“I’m stoked to get the news after hearing back from Hamish about 3am on Wednesday morning who said I’d successfully managed to put a property on hold under my name. I’m quite stoked to be honest; it’s made my quarantine period much better!”

Harcourts Queenstown managing director Warwick Osborne says the levels of demand have taken seasoned real estate professionals by surprise.

“It just goes to show that there is a pent-up demand out there for properties of quality in an outstanding natural location, especially in a country which is perceived as a safe haven in these difficult times.”

The station will include access to a nine-hole golf course, a country club and spa, wellness centre, restaurant, gym and a village with artisan shops, café and garden centre.

The first stage of the development is a collection of more than 110 homes called The Vines, directly across the road from the Gibbston Valley Winery.

Greg Hunt says the resort is the realisation of a long-term development plan with his vision for Gibbton Valley.

“We’ve been working towards this for ten years and looking forward to the start of construction.”

He says he is “pleased” by the early level of interest and sales for the station’s resort community with sustainability and healthy living at the heart of everything on offer.

“We are thrilled that so many others have already committed to the vision of what we plan to offer here.”

The Vintners Village on the development is planned to become a central hub not only for visitors but Gibbston residents.

Buyer enquiries should be directed to Hamish Walker on [email protected]

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Gibbston Valley development attracts ‘unprecedented’ levels of interest

Homes and sections in a multi-million-dollar “piece of paradise” in Queenstown’s idyllic Gibbston Valley have attracted “unprecedented” levels of enquiry since launching this week.

Homes and sections in a multi-million-dollar “piece of paradise” in Queenstown’s idyllic Gibbston Valley have attracted “unprecedented” levels of enquiry since launching this week.

Would-be buyers from all around New Zealand and expats looking to secure a future home in a 1000-acre station nestled in one of Central Otago’s finest wine-growing regions have had the phones running hot in the past 36 hours since hitting the market.

The $750 million luxury development has already attracted interest from high-profile buyers including former prime minister Sir John Key, cricket star Brendon McCullum and other well-known sportspeople.

The project is located on Gibbston Valley Station, co-owned by Gibbston Valley Winery, Lodge and Spa CEO Greg Hunt and US-based Phil Griffiths.

Property buyers to date are overwhelmingly from Auckland, with others being kiwis based in the US and East Coast Australians.

Set between craggy mountain ranges and the fast-flowing Kawarau River, the homes range in price from $1.25m plus GST to $4.5m plus GST.

Harcourts Queenstown managing director Warwick Osborne says the company is delighted to work with the owners of a development of this scale and quality.

“It’s the first type of resort of this nature seen in New Zealand for many years,” he says.

Harcourts Queenstown agent Hamish Walker, who is marketing the development, says buyers are “flocking to quality”.

“We almost can’t keep up with the level of enquiry that’s coming through, with buyers attracted to the scale and location of what’s on offer, and pricing that’s meeting the market when overall demand is at an all-time high.

“The first release of fifteen properties were snapped up within the first day of going on the market worth $25m plus in contracts going out the door. Release Two isn’t going to last long at this rate with 20 more two, three and four-bedroom properties available. People need to get in touch now if they want to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Buyers are also attracted to the flexibility of the offering, with the ability to live in these homes with this amazing playground on their doorstep and rent them out when they wish via the resort.”

The station will include access to a nine-hole golf course, a country club and spa, wellness centre, restaurant, gym and a village with artisan shops, café and garden centre.

The first stage of the development will be a collection of 132 homes called The Vines, directly across the road from the Gibbston Valley Winery. A retreat lodge is also planned for another part of the station, containing 20 units.

Greg Hunt says the resort is the realisation of a long-term development plan, with zoning granted 12 months ago for the golf course and resort. Building is anticipated to start in 2022.

“We’re building so much more than a resort here,” he says. “We have always had a vision to create a community where friends and families can gather to create memories and share experiences.

“Sustainability and healthy living are also key to what we will offer, with homeowners and visitors able to learn about the process of winemaking from bud to bottle, and have easy access to the Gibbston walking and cycling trail as well as new trails we plan to develop.

“The Vintners Village will become a central hub not only for visitors but Gibbston residents.”

Buyer enquiries should be directed to Hamish Walker on [email protected]

 

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Turning over a new leaf – from tourism to tea

An international tourism company based in Queenstown has brewed up a new business idea, turning its hand to artisan tea.

An international tourism company based in Queenstown has brewed up a new business idea, turning its hand to artisan tea.

Impact Escapes, which provided bespoke, off-the-beaten track tours in Sri Lanka pre-Covid, has launched Impact Tea, sourcing its produce from the tea estates it used to tour with visitors.

Co-founders Alex Musgrave and Sally Miller are the only suppliers of this type of small batch, artisan tea in New Zealand, which is hand-picked and hand-rolled in Sri Lanka.

“Sadly we’re not able to show Kiwis Sri Lanka at the moment, so we’re now bringing a taste of Sri Lanka to New Zealand thanks to the contacts we already had with growers,” Alex says.

The tea leaves come from four distinctly different estates, which rather than being blended together are all sold separately, making them a high-end tea-lovers dream, a ‘single estate tea’.

“In much the same way that people are now buying artisan beer or single-estate wines, there’s growing appreciation for fine tea,” says Alex.

“The flavours are guided by the weather and change slightly depending on the season, unlike highly processed and blended tea. Tea connoisseurs can definitely taste the difference.”

Impact Tea is selling pure Ceylon tea, which is notoriously difficult to source in New Zealand.

Alex and Sally were struck by the idea for Impact Tea not only to support themselves in a post-Covid world, but also the estate owners, workers and friends in Sri Lanka.

The estates they work with are owned and managed ethically, including fair and proper payment and treatment for staff.

“It was our top priority to work with ethically managed and run estates and thanks to our already-existing relationships, we were able to ensure that happened. We’re happy to continue to support these small operators in Sri Lanka,” says Alex.

Impact Tea works in partnership with the Tea Leaf Trust, which provides education and educational facilities to estate workers and their children.

“Every sip of Impact Tea connects the drinker to the picker and helps improve their lives and the area they live in. It’s the ultimate win-win,” says Alex.

Loose leaf Impact Tea can be purchased online or in select Queenstown stores and markets.

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