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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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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Spectacular ‘green weddings’ inspire couples to eco-elope to Queenstown

It is the ultimate in love, sustainability and adventure. A group of Queenstown businesses have teamed up to create dream ‘green wedding’ packages to help New Zealand-based couples tie the knot in unique and inspiring ways this summer.

It is the ultimate in love, sustainability and adventure. A group of Queenstown businesses have teamed up to create dream ‘green wedding’ packages to help New Zealand-based couples tie the knot in unique and inspiring ways this summer.

And to celebrate the launch of the initiative, the wedding collective is running a ‘Tell Us Your Love Story’ competition which will culminate in one lucky couple winning a Forest Eco-Elopement wedding package worth nearly $6,000.

The competition will invite couples to enter to win an ‘eco-elopement’ in Queenstown between 1 February and 30 April 2021 (with blackout dates over Easter), allowing them to make the most of its spectacular scenery, world-class experiences and long summer and autumn days.

Sarah Arkin, of Simply Mindful Weddings, and Ziptrek Ecotours are leading the initiative and Mrs Arkin says they’re delighted to be working with other like-minded local businesses to share the love.

“We’re seeing couples wanting to be more mindful with their wedding plans and they are looking for smaller, more intimate, more affordable, and environmentally-conscious weddings that truly reflect who they are as a couple,” she says.

“In essence, couples are looking for ceremonies that have more meaning, and less waste.  Weddings don’t have to cost the earth, and we believe the focus should be on celebrating two people taking the next step on their journey together.”

Mrs Arkin says Simply Mindful Weddings has the experience to make peoples’ wedding dreams come true with over 10 years of planning Queenstown weddings, alongside a genuine commitment to sustainability and mindfulness with the packages on offer. Its community focus means they work with Queenstown owned and operated businesses that are “incredibly talented” at what they do and are excited to be leading the way towards a more sustainable wedding industry.

Ziptrek Ecotours Sales & Marketing Manager Nicky Busst believes the initiative is a “marriage made in heaven” for local businesses.

“A simple celebration of your love surrounded by nature and spectacular views creates a setting that can’t help but get you in the romantic mindset,” she says.

“We know this year has been tough for many couples around New Zealand and we want to help them bring their dream wedding to life here in Queenstown. Our treehouses provide unique staging platforms enabling a fun and affordable wedding while also caring for our environment and community.”

The ‘Tell Us Your Love Story’ competition launches on December 1 with entries closing at 4pm on December 10.  To enter, couples must reside in New Zealand and submit their love story, including why they think an eco-elopement would be perfect for them, via the Simply Mindful Weddings website.

The Eco Elopement prize package up for grabs includes:

  • A unique ceremony venue set high amongst the treetops on Bob’s Peak with stunning views over Queenstown made exclusively available by innovative zipline company Ziptrek Ecotours.  The happy couple will be whisked down their exhilarating treetop ziplines after they say ‘I Do’
  • A paperless ceremony personally crafted for each couple by Queenstown local celebrant Andrew Bell
  • A sustainable floral package, including a dried floral bridal bouquet and buttonhole or a seasonal fresh floral bridal bouquet and buttonhole locally foraged by The Flower Room
  • Organic, locally produced New Zealand bubbles for their first toast
  • Help with obtaining their marriage licence and providing two legally-required witnesses
  • A photography package for up to two hours of ceremony coverage and additional location photos, professionally edited and provided digitally by Rich Bayley Photography
  • Bespoke planning and ‘day of’ coordination by Simply Mindful wedding professionals to ensure no trace is left behind
  • Planting of New Zealand native trees in the couple’s name through conservation charity Trees That Count.

Competition entries will be reviewed and voted on collectively by all the prize package sponsors and the winning couple will be announced live via the Simply Mindful Instagram on December 11.

For more information about the Queenstown eco-elopement package, upgrade options and bespoke packages visit http://simplymindfulweddings.com/eco-elopements/forest/.

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50,000 salmon smolt released into Lake Tekapo

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon and Central South Island Fish & Game Council released 50,000 smolt into the crystal clear waters of Lake Tekapo last week.

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon and Central South Island Fish & Game Council released 50,000 smolt into the crystal clear waters of Lake Tekapo last week.

The young salmon, which are about two years old, were raised at the nearby Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Ohau hatchery on the Ohau Canal. Last week’s release was part of the Fish & Game Council’s “put and take” programme in Lake Tekapo, developed over the past 10 years.

Fish and Game officer Rhys Adams says the release will “reinvigorate” the salmon fishery in the lake, but they will need time to grow to between two and four pounds.

The tanker load of smolt was taken to the outlet of Lake McGregor on the western shore of Lake Tekapo for release.

“The last release was in 2018 and has proven successful with anglers reporting catches in the last spring to summer period,” he says.

“Anglers should pencil in the spring-summer of 2022 to target these hard-fighting fish.”

In the meantime, Lake Tekapo offers a great Rainbow and Brown trout fishery, married with some of the best scenery in New Zealand.

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon CEO David Cole said the gifting of smolt was part of the company’s policy of giving back to the fishing community.

“We have an excellent relationship with Fish & Game and are very happy to help sustain the Lake Tekapo Salmon fishery,” he says.

“We hope it will make up somewhat for the cancellation of the very popular Kids Salmon Fishing Competition because of COVID.”

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Ltd farms Freshwater King Salmon in the South Canterbury hydro canals of the MacKenzie District. This special salmon is sought after for its clean subtle taste and delicate texture, in New Zealand and across the globe.

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NZONE Skydive celebrates thirty years in the sky

New Zealand’s first commercial tandem skydive operation is celebrating a milestone 30 years of operation this month.

New Zealand’s first commercial tandem skydive operation is celebrating a milestone 30 years of operation this month.

Three decades ago NZONE Skydive took to the skies in Queenstown, the home of adventure, thanks to the incredible vision of founders Robynne and Lindsay Williams.

Over the years its grown to become the world’s leading tandem skydive operation, giving more than 350,000 passengers to date the thrill of a lifetime, and with more to come.

Starting with just three staff members at its base in a paddock near Queenstown in October 1990, it grew year-on-year to become a world-renowned, multi-awarded adventure tourism operation.

Today it also operates Skydive Wanaka (the second-largest skydive company in New Zealand operating for 25 years) and Skydive Southern Alps. The company employed close to 200 staff in pre-COVID times and completed 60% of all tandem skydives in New Zealand.

Meeting the COVID challenge head on, NZONE Skydive is committed to keeping the doors open and retaining as many staff as possible.

“With a legacy of 30 years of operations under our belt as one of Queenstown’s pioneering adventure tourism companies we’re in a battle to survive,” says Skydive Queenstown General Manager Clark Scott.

“We’re celebrating our very special birthday with staff and customers, and over this summer and beyond we’ll continue to offer outstanding experiences to our domestic visitors and hopefully, in the near future, visitors from overseas.

“To all our customers, staff and key trade partners, we’d like to say a very heartfelt ‘Thank You’ for 30 years of incredible support. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

NZONE Skydive offers guests tandem skydives from 9000ft to 15000ft with up to 60 seconds freefall at speeds of 200 km/hour above some of the world’s most stunning scenery.

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Harcourts Queenstown welcomes Hamish Walker to team

Harcourts Queenstown has welcomed former MP and Queenstown resident Hamish Walker to the team as a licensed sales consultant.

Harcourts Queenstown has welcomed former MP and Queenstown resident Hamish Walker to the team as a licensed sales consultant.

Mr Walker, 35, is “returning to his roots” as he originally completed his real estate papers some years ago and has industry experience from across New Zealand.

He was just “days away” from starting work with Harcourts Dunedin three years ago when he was presented with the opportunity to stand for Parliament in the electorate of Clutha-Southland.

Now living in Queenstown since mid-2019, he says he’s looking forward to helping connect people to property, and spending more time at home.

“I’m in the real estate industry to help people reach their goals and next stage of life, we love this community and I feel deeply connected to it having represented the area in Parliament,” he says.

“My enthusiasm for helping others and my relationship with each community in the Wakatipu Basin helps me connect with clients to provide them with the best service possible.

“I enjoy spending time with family, volunteering in the community, refereeing rugby, playing golf, fishing and skiing.”

Mr Walker says highlights of his time in Parliament included successfully lobbying the Government to increase the housing cap by $100,000, and holding the first ever protest march in Queenstown to help keep a much-loved Sri Lankan family stay in “this place we call home” and passing a members bill to help put foster children on a level playing field with other kids.

His previous experience includes founding a property management business in Auckland which he successfully franchised and sold, and he’s worked in the banking and accounting industries.

Over the years he has served the community in roles including a board director on the Otago Rugby Union and as a member of the Otago/Southland Lotteries Committee.

Harcourts Queenstown managing director Warwick Osborne says Hamish is “all about relationships and community” which is the perfect fit for the company.

“Trust, community and shared values are at the heart of doing business in Queenstown and throughout the Harcourts Highland Group’s six offices in Otago, and Hamish’s deep ties to the region make him an ideal addition to our brand,” he says.

“On a sporting level Harcourts is proud to sponsor the Otago Rugby Referees Association and we appreciate the volunteer work Hamish and others like him put into our children, families and the wider community.”

Celebrating 25 years in business next month, Harcourts Queenstown has created a supportive team culture which encourages consultants and all members of staff to reach their full potential.

“We’ve always been a market leader and nationally we’ve been voted New Zealand’s most trusted brand for eight years in a row by our clients, so we’re delighted to welcome Hamish to our team.

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New deals site set to correct the market, lands in the Tasman District and Nelson

The founders of a new discount deals site are calling out the industry for lack of transparency as they launch in the Tasman District and Nelson.

The founders of a new discount deals site are calling out the industry for lack of transparency as they launch in the Tasman District and Nelson.

Everyone loves a good discount but the team behind Deal Champ knows businesses are hurting, trying to keep afloat and keep staff employed.

That’s why they’ve come up with a new concept in online deals that’s touted as a ‘win-win’ for vendors and buyers, acknowledging that Deal Champ’s “on a mission” to disrupt the industry with longevity and sustainability at the forefront.

Co-founder and Business Development Manager Chris Bradley says in the build-up to Covid the deals industry had been “completely broken and out of control”.

“We all love a great deal but not if it forces businesses into a position where costs and commission rates keep going up, yields go down and people lose jobs,” he says.

“The old deals model of booking and payment systems rapidly unravelled as Covid took hold and there were some spectacular fallouts.”

So the Deal Champ model is very different from other deal and online booking sites, where the ‘deal’ the customer sees doesn’t deliver all those much-needed dollars into the operator’s pocket.

“Deal Champ is user-friendly, no contract, no commission and no bullshit,” says Chris.

The brand new business model was hammered out in a late-night brainstorm, fuelled by Covid-19 and a bottle of whisky.

Tasman businesses have been quick to get on board from tourism activities to lawyers and beauty salons and much more.

Deal Champ is the brainchild of the four founders of Queenstown-based Everything Travel Group (ETG) and experienced deals industry guru, Chris.

Nigel Hobbs, Matt Morgan, Callum Goodall and Kris Barrs of ETG had been running the online travel and tourism agency for nearly two decades, watching cracks slowly appear in the deals industry.

Like all good ‘lightbulb moment’ ideas the premise is simple – unlike other models, Deal Champ doesn’t take any commission or fees from vendors. Instead, customers pick their deal and pay 10% of their savings to Deal Champ, thereby ‘accessing’ the deal.

From that moment on, the transaction is between the customer and vendor only, meaning there’s no middleman, no holding payments and no hidden costs. Customers are sent an e-voucher to use to pay the vendor directly.

“We’ve set the bar high right from the get-go as we’re aiming to be the biggest and fairest deals site by Christmas, supporting local all the way,” says Chris.

The site will span across six different industries including experiences (encompassing tourism), accommodation, wellness, dining, retail and services.

Mark Burnaby, Managing Director of Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles, was thrilled to be on board with Deal Champ.

“We love the business model, it’s great that we can offer special promotions to New Zealanders that’s also affordable for our business and gives us some extra exposure online,” says Mark.

“There was definitely a need for Deal Champ, the commissions that have previously been paid on top of a discounted product is not ideal. This business model certainly fits us and it’s solving a problem for sellers and buyers.”

Stacey Annett, owner of The Beauty Lounge Beauty Clinic Nelson, echoed this sentiment.

“We really needed a good, honest deals sight. A lot of people use them as customers, including myself, and it’s good to know this is fair to everyone involved.”

Deal Champ’s Chris is adamant the deals industry needs to work with, not against vendors.

“In a really tough time in business life right now we need to work together to reset the industry and make it transparent so vendors can afford to keep staff employed and yields up.”

Deal Champ also has the investor support of hugely successful tech-hospitality startup First Table, founded by Queenstown’s Mat Weir.

Future developments will enable First Table restaurant listings to be purchased through Deal Champ, making the site New Zealand’s biggest deals platform.

Deal Champ has already launched in Queenstown and Christchurch over the past month and will roll out in different areas throughout New Zealand over the coming months.

Check out the new site here: www.dealchamp.co.nz

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New Board Appointment At Mt Cook Alpine Salmon

Carl was Chief Executive of Moana for six years, previously known as Aotearoa Fisheries. Moana has a major interest in Sealord which in turn owns 100% of Petuna, a Tasmanian salmon company.

Carl was Chief Executive of Moana for six years, previously known as Aotearoa Fisheries. Moana has a major interest in Sealord which in turn owns 100% of Petuna, a Tasmanian salmon company.

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Chairman Sir Bill English said he was “pleased to welcome Carl to our board at a time when like all other businesses we face new uncertainties.”

“Carl has deep knowledge of the seafood industry along with marketing experience in New Zealand and overseas,” he said. “He also has established relationships in markets where we export and he will provide a valuable strategic view for our board.”

Since retiring from Moana, Carl has moved to Wanaka and has a number of professional board roles including the Cawthron Institute in Nelson. A chemical engineer by profession, Carl has a track record with a number of senior roles in multinational organisations. He holds an MBA and is a chartered member of the Institute of Directors.

“I joined Mt Cook Alpine Salmon because I’ve always admired the company, its values and its forward-thinking strategies,” said Carl.

“I was privileged to do some organisational development work for them earlier this year and was very impressed with the calibre of their people.

“I feel I can offer some contribution to helping the company unfold its aspirations.”

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Ltd farms Freshwater King Salmon in the South Canterbury hydro canals of the MacKenzie District. This special salmon is sought after for its clean subtle taste and delicate texture, here and across the globe.

 

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Holiday Inn Express supports community – embraces Winter Pride

This week its proud sponsor of the Winter Pride On-Mountain Series, an explosion of colour across three mountains incorporating the famous Onesie Day, Ski Charity Race Day and the Pride Ski Flag Parade.

This week its proud sponsor of the Winter Pride On-Mountain Series, an explosion of colour across three mountains incorporating the famous Onesie Day, Ski Charity Race Day and the Pride Ski Flag Parade.

Holiday Inn Express signed up to support Winter Pride nearly a year ago, with the hotel only half-way to completion at the time. 

Fast-forward to this week and the Holiday Inn Express team has been on the snow, celebrating some of the best spring skiing in years and having fun with LGBTTIA+ visitors from all around New Zealand.

Hotel General Manager Jason Sabin says he and his team have been “beaming ear to ear” all week.

“It’s been great to see the return of Aucklanders and the rest of New Zealand to their favourite fun destination,” he says.

“Yes we’re operating under Level 2 and yes it would have been great to welcome Australian visitors too, but Martin and his Winter Pride organisers and volunteers have done an amazing job.

“The icing on the cake for him and us was the amazing snowfalls and cold temperatures we’ve had in the last few days.

“The skiing and snowboarding has been outstanding, thanks to Coronet Peak, Cardrona and The Remarkables. A highlight for us was supporting the Ski Charity Race which raises funds for the Wakatipu Youth Trust, a not-for-profit working alongside young people in Queenstown.

“We’ve loved every minute and will definitely be back next year!”

Winter Pride festival director Martin King says that in these extraordinary times, support for the festival is “critical” to its survival.

“Holiday Inn Express has been super-engaged and supportive, and them staying with us and standing up for the event at this time has been vital,” he says.

With snow coating the mountains and a brand-new hotel ready and waiting, the timing’s perfect to check out opening special deals still available throughout September and the school holidays (September 26 to October 11).

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown is a 227-room hotel on the corner of Stanley and Sydney Streets, just a short stroll from the resort town’s vibrant centre.

The hotel’s room offering includes spacious suites – a Holiday Inn Express ‘first’ in New Zealand and Australia – in addition to superior rooms with breath taking views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range.

It has a warm, stylish vibe, complete with an outdoor lounge with firepit. It’s also equipped with the smart, simple rooms and in-room features that leisure and business travellers have come to know and love.

The hotel delivers on features the Holiday Inn Express brand has become renowned for including an Express Start breakfast, power showers, black-out blinds, high-quality bedding with a choice of pillows and uncapped Wi-Fi.

There’s also a fitness room, sauna, two flexible meeting rooms, self-serve laundry, dry room, onsite parking and a free business centre.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown is the first and only hotel under the Holiday Inn Express brand in New Zealand to date. 

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