Treble Cone welcomes new Ski Area General Manager Toby Arnott

Media Release from Treble Cone Ski Area

One of New Zealand’s most experienced and passionate snow sports professionals is joining much-loved Wanaka ski area Treble Cone as Ski Area General Manager.

A seasoned snow sports veteran with over 15 years’ experience in local and international ski areas, Toby starts in his new role at the end of this month.

The Queenstown born-and-bred local is renowned for his passion for the industry, delivering exceptional customer experiences and operational excellence.

Having travelled the world as an international athlete he then started from the ‘ground up’ as a ski instructor in Queenstown before working to deliver elite level on-mountain events.

In his current role as General Manager of Snowsports at NZSki, he has been responsible for the strategic direction and overall operation of snow sports schools and management of over 400 staff.

Toby says he is “thrilled” to join the Treble Cone team as it celebrates its 50th winter season.

“I’m excited about working with the Treble Cone Board to bring a fresh approach to an already vibrant business,” he says.

“It’s a natural progression to my career and probably comes with mixed emotions, having grown up in Queenstown and skied here all my life, but I’m looking forward to a change of scenery.”

Toby is renowned for bringing the highest levels of leadership and organisational goals to the snow sports industry.

“I’m proud to have helped developed superb levels of staff loyalty and retention.

“Treble Cone has some first-class people working on the mountain and it’s vital to work with a team that recognises the importance of providing exceptional customer experiences from the moment a guest arrives, through to their departure.”

Over the years Toby has held numerous positions in the ski industry including as Chairman of the Snowsports New Zealand Alpine Sports Committee, has been heavily involved with development of young up and coming skiers and event management of the New Zealand Universities Winter Games.

Treble Cone Chairman Don Fletcher says Toby brings a unique skill-set and in-depth understanding of how alpine resorts and their individual departments operate to his new role as Ski Area General Manager.

When he’s not on-mountain enjoying the white stuff with his family, Toby spends his time mountain biking, road cycling and kayaking.

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Book describes aerial 1080 drops as ‘eco-crime’ against NZ bush

Media Release – The Quiet Forest  

A fledgling tui called Malcolm and a bush devoid of birdsong seem unlikely motivators for a book.

And a retired Professor of Rheumatology would not be number one pick as the author of a book about aerial 1080 poisoning.

Dunedin-born author Fiona McQueen admits her subject choice is somewhat unusual for an author who describes herself neither as anti-government nor a “raving Greenie”.

As someone who’d always aspired to write, she thought it might be a children’s book or, at the very least, something just a little less controversial.

After moving from Auckland to Glenorchy, from where she still travels to Invercargill to work as a consultant rheumatologist for the Southern DHB, she became increasingly concerned about damage to the environment and decided to “put her head above the parapet” to write the book.

McQueen, who has a lifelong passion for tramping and experiencing the New Zealand bush, applied her considerable scientific research skills to finding out more about the pros and cons of 1080.

The result is ‘The Quiet Forest’, a 200-page tome outlining the case against what she calls the “eco-crime” of dropping poison all over the New Zealand forest.

It tells the story of a group of trampers who walked into deepest Fiordland only to find an area littered with carcasses of deer, wood pigeons and possums and with virtually no native birds in sight or sound.

And its prologue tells the tale of Malcolm the Tui, who McQueen and her family rescued in Auckland and hand-fed until he grew up and flew into the wild.

“I’m not the dry scientist people might think I am, I’ve always wanted to write a book,” she said.

“I’m not anti-Government, in fact I’d describe myself as part of the establishment. But what I’ve seen and heard about 1080 upsets me on a heart level because of my feelings for the New Zealand bush,” she said.

“The bush is a spiritual place and we’re stuffing it up. It’s an eco-crime to drop 1080 in this random, indiscriminate way because they’re being so cavalier with this stuff.

“Yes it kills possums and rats, but it also kills deer most horribly and birds and insects. And then we’ve cleared the way for the rats to come back because they’re the ultimate survivors.

“It’s an industry that’s funded by the taxpayer yet most people don’t know the extent of the poison drops nor the number of New Zealanders who have real concerns.

“Democracy is being undermined because the drops are now organised by the Ministry of Primary Industries which makes it harder than ever before for people to find out information or complain.

“I’ve done extensive research into this and conducted many interviews and after two years produced a book that aims to be readable, aimed at the average person and demystifying the science as much as possible.”

And as for Malcolm?

She thought of him when she learned that aerial 1080 had been dropped for pest control in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges, very near to her old home. Although Tuis aren’t supposed to be susceptible to 1080 as they are nectar eaters, her book research discovered that it kills insects and insect-eating birds.

She thinks of him when she considers what she calls the New Zealand 1080 Experiment, in which scientists, DOC workers and politicians are ‘playing God’ in the country’s unique and irreplaceable ecosystem.

‘Killing native birds actually constitutes a crime under the NZ Wildlife Act of 1953, but for some reason deaths induced by the Department of Conservation seem to be exempt,’ she writes in the book.

“Dropping poisonous chemicals all over our pristine and beautiful place is appalling n all levels and has to stop. If something isn’t done there’s going to be a disaster,” she said.

The Quiet Forest: The Case Against Aerial 1080 can be bought on the Tross Publishing website The book costs $35 including postage within New Zealand.

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The countdown is on: Queenstown set to shine bright at LUMA

Media release from LUMA 2018

With less than ten weeks until Queenstown’s award-winning light festival illuminates the night sky, the countdown is officially on.

The LUMA Southern Light Project returns to Queenstown on Queen’s Birthday Weekend (June 1 – 4 2018) featuring a world light festival ‘first’ four evenings of illuminated art, light sculptures and entertainment.

Over 35,000 people braved the cold last year to go on a sensory journey through the iconic Queenstown Gardens and buzzing lakefront.

The free public event focuses on the transformation of space, public interaction, art, culture and education, made possible by curated collections of stunning light sculptures and thought-provoking installations.

Visitors can expect to be dazzled by an array of interactive and unique light displays, each one designed to encourage them to engage with the art and the surrounding Queenstown landscape.

Set within the picturesque Queenstown Gardens and waterfront, visitors can explore the illuminated winter wonderland with hot food in hand warming their fingers, as the art captivates their minds.

The ‘world festival first’ will see local and international artists collaborating on an instillation using over 90,000 individual light sources to turn trees in the Queenstown Gardens into an enchanted forest.

Auckland artist Angus Muir is returning to LUMA as the principle light installation artist and is excited about the collaboration.

“We’re going to create a pretty amazing, almost 3D volume, of light within the forest. We’ll be able to control the direction it moves, and create shapes within it, producing an amazing geometric work within an organic environment.”

Muir’s work will feature alongside creative art luminaries Jon Baxter, Puck Murphy and Nocturnal – Projection Mapping specialists, amongst many other local and national artists.

Trust chairman Duncan Forsyth says enhancing and promoting the creative and cultural heart of Queenstown is at the core of everything LUMA represents.

“LUMA 2018 promises to be the most innovative, immersive and interactive experience yet,” he says.

“It’s set to be a thought-provoking experience for all ages and we’re delighted to bring the community together once again for our third instalment of the festival.

“There really is something invigorating about connecting strangers on a dark and wintery evening through forms of light and music.

The festival is run by a group of dedicated young Queenstown professionals who donate thousands of hours of their time to bringing the ‘life’ of the community back into the town centre.

Their goal? To shine bright, opening an enlightening conversation and improving the creative landscape in Queenstown.

Duncan says the event is only possible thanks to the loyal support of business partners and volunteers.

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

“They allow us to turn on the lights! Thanks for helping us, help you, to brighten up the future of our resort town.”

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

LUMA Fast Facts:

LUMA Southern Light Project

Free event from 5pm to 10pm daily

Queenstown Gardens and waterfront

Queen’s Birthday weekend – 1 to 4 June 2018

People are encouraged to take public transport and lift share where possible

Full event information at

Photo caption:

A family night out. Enjoying every minute of LUMA 2017. Photo credit: Che McPherson

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A sustainable alternative – company urges awareness of cedar cladding

Media Release from Abodo

Explosive growth in Queenstown’s commercial and residential building sectors has led an innovative New Zealand company to focus its sustainable timber messages on the district.

Abodo has been active in the New Zealand market for 16 years, born from a vision to offer an alternative to destroying endangered old-growth forests around the world.

As an example, New Zealand imports of Canadian old-growth cedar have steadily increased over the years, adding up to 35% of all sawn timber imports into the country (around 30,000 cubic metres a year).

But Abodo Director Daniel Gudsell says most New Zealanders do not realise that much of the high-grade cedar used across the country is from old-growth trees, which are often aged from 150 up to 2000 years old.

He says the only real way for people to be sure they’re not ordering old timber log exports is to insist on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timber.

In a bid to offer a sustainable substitute to irreplaceable old growth trees, Abodo harvests its high performance architectural and structural timbers from New Zealand plantation forests, primarily in Rotorua region.

A newly-released Infometrics profile of the Queenstown Lakes district indicates a 20% rise in residential building consents, and 13% rise in non-residential building consents over a 12-month period ending September 2017, compared to a 3% and 5.9% rise respectively elsewhere in New Zealand.

With the continued rapid growth of the district, Mr Gudsell is concerned about the lack of awareness of local alternatives for old-growth cedar.

“The district uses a large amount of imported Canadian cedar cladding, but I’m not sure that people are aware that the Western Red Cedar typically comes from these ancient forests,” he says.

“Just look around and you see it everywhere. From the McDonalds on Frankton Road, to many of the new houses in Jack’s Point and Shotover Country, the cladding is imported Canadian old-growth cedar.

“Our alternative timber cladding is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, is durable in the alpine conditions of Queenstown and Wanaka and has a similar aesthetic to cedar.

“Our unique patented technology ensures our timbers have exceptional weatherability to cope with dry summers and cold, snowy winters.

“By using local plantation timbers you’re not waiting for 250 or 500 years for a new tree to grow, so we’re thinking ahead for future generations.”

From a global perspective, Abodo’s contribution to New Zealand forestry sits in line with the Government’s goal to plant one billion trees between 2018 and 2027.

“It’s fantastic to see the government taking a shift in a better direction. The tree species they’re planning to plant includes radiata pine, redwood, totara, eucalyptus, Douglas fir and mānuka,” says Mr Gudsell.

“Unfortunately, pine isn’t a durable or stable building material as it doesn’t weather well and needs to be chemically-treated before use.

“Ninety-five percent of our New Zealand plantations are already pine and that’s why Western Red Cedar is the largest single species we import, as it’s a durable building material.

“To be sustainable we need to be planting higher volumes of alternative naturally durable species such as eucalyptus, or modifying pine to make it more durable, without toxic chemicals.”

To help generate awareness on a national level, Abodo, along with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), has facilitated the visit of a top forestry specialist from Canada to New Zealand to speak at two high-profile industry events.

Ken Wu has been working to protect the old-growth forests of British Columbia for over 26 years and is in New Zealand this week in his capacity as executive director of the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA).

The AFA is a British Columbian organisation working to protect its endangered old-growth forests and to ensure sustainable forestry jobs in the province.

Previously unaware that New Zealand had been importing large volumes of old-growth Western Red Cedar from B.C., Ken was delighted to accept the invitation.

“Unless it’s coming from an FSC source, old-growth Western Red Cedar logging is very destructive,” says Ken.

“It’s not only a big issue from an ecological perspective, but also economically and culturally, damaging the climate and our tourism.

“Our ancient forests inspire wonder and awe in visitors from around the globe. We have some of the largest trees you’ve ever seen, growing as tall as skyscrapers and as wide as homes. They’re truly spectacular.

“We’re calling on the British Columbian government to expand protection of old-growth forests and it’s fantastic to see a New Zealand company like Abodo help create awareness of the issue and educate its building industry.”

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