New GM at Tekapo Springs brings a wealth of experience to the role

Media Release from Tekapo Springs

Tourism marketing strategist Anton Wilke is applying a wealth of experience in sales, marketing and general business management to his new role of General Manager at Tekapo Springs.

In a career spanning over 27 years, he’s built an enviable reputation in the competitive New Zealand tourism industry having worked within public organisations, corporate and self-employed tourism businesses.

And as the new GM at Tekapo Springs he says he’s “hugely excited” by the opportunity to work with the multi-award-wining South Island tourism attraction and its team of 45 staff.

Established more than a decade ago by owner Karl Burtscher, the pools, ice rink, snow tube park, café, day spa and now star gazing offering has grown into a key visitor attraction for Lake Tekapo and the McKenzie district.

Mr Wilke described his appointment at Tekapo Springs as “perfect timing”, with the introduction of star gazing tours earlier this year married with the launch of new pools for the complex putting Tekapo Springs firmly on the global tourism map.

“Destination Lake Tekapo is in the throes of moving to the next level and it’s a great time to be involved as we see new retail, attraction and accommodation developments planned in the village over the next few years,” he said.

“As GM, I’m running a business with five internal business units, each with its own manager, and ensuring we all go in the same direction at the same time delivering on our brand promise of ‘lifting your spirits’.

“We have some new and innovative ideas moving forward that will improve and expand on the current offer. As the tourism industry continues to grow, Tekapo Springs must be prepared to welcome more guests and provide a market relevant experience.”

Mr Wilke said that as the business developed, experiencing a longer year-round season than in the past, it faced the challenge of staff retention, as Tekapo is very small with limited accommodation.

“It’s something we’re acutely aware of and are working on strategies to relieve that issue,” he said.

“Developing business relationships on a district and regional basis is imperative for the ongoing success of our business.”

Mr Wilke’s background means he is uniquely placed to oversee the success of the five business units at Tekapo Springs.

His most recent roles include that of Managing Director of Tourism and Accommodation Marketing Services, MD of NZ Motel Marketing Ltd, and Sales and Marketing Manager at Canterbury’s Porters Ski area.

He is currently Vice Chairman of RTO Experience Mid Canterbury and has previously been Sales and Marketing Manager for Canterbury Tourism. He was also previously Commercial Manager at Rainbow Springs and Rainbow Farm Show in Rotorua, among other key industry roles.

Tekapo Springs owner Karl Burtscher said Mr Wilke’s extensive experience in the tourism industry could not be a better fit for the business.

“In recent years Tekapo Springs has made continued multi-million-dollar investments into two new pools and an aqua play area at the complex as well as launching star gazing tours in one of the world’s top ‘clear sky’ locations,” he said.

“We’re renowned for our innovation and continued business developments in order to remain at the forefront of ‘must-do’ activities for international and domestic visitors.

“Anton will help manage a cohesive approach to our business which has grown exponentially over the past four or five years in particular, and we welcome his passion and drive for New Zealand’s tourism industry.”

Tekapo Springs is a year-round attraction nestled on the shores of stunning Lake Tekapo, beloved by visitors from all around the globe and winner of multiple tourism awards.

Click here to visit Tekapo Springs website.

Picture caption:

1/ Tekapo Springs new General Manager Anton Wilke

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Gibbston Valley Wines celebrates diversity with sparkling bubbles

Media release from Gay Ski Week QT

Renowned Queenstown winery Gibbston Valley Wines is adding some real sparkle to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Winter Pride event.

Wine lovers attending Gay Ski Week QT’s first ever Long Lunch event at the winery on September 6 will be treated to flutes of the winery’s limited release vintages Rosé Méthode Traditionelle and Blanc de Blanc Méthode Traditionelle.

With only 200 cases of each vintage crafted, it’s the first time the winery has held tastings of the ‘celebratory bubbles’.

The complimentary tasting, hosted by winemaker Matt Swirtz, will be a special start to a relaxed lunch at the famous Central Otago winery.

Winemaker Christopher Keys said the 2011 creation was made with “real care and patience”.

“With no time pressure to release the wine, the bottles have benefited from extended maturation which was critical in setting the quality,” he said.

“The wines are very gently pressed, have barrel fermentation, then 56 months in bottle. It’s produced with the best fruit, some very gentle winemaking, and a whole lot of time.

“We can’t wait for our LGBTQI guests to experience the richness, elegance and texture of our latest vintage Rosé and Blanc de Blanc Méthode Traditionelle.”

Hundreds of gay men and women are set to converge on Queenstown between September 2 and September 9 2017 to attend Gay Ski Week QT’s week-long festival, jam-packed with parties, cabarets, spring skiing, karaoke and much more.

Gay Ski Week QT Organiser Sally Whitewoods said Gibbston Valley Wines had become a pivotal supporter of the event.

“Gibbston Valley’s well-established and ever-growing brand is a perfect fit for us and we’re delighted to have worked in partnership with them for four years,” she said.

“Our event is set to be even bigger and better this year, and it’s exciting this year to have a specific focus on our region’s award-winning food and wine.

“The lunch is the perfect opportunity to take a mid-week break away from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown and I’m confident it will become a regular event on the GSWQT calendar.

“I’m sure these gorgeous bubbles will add just the right amount of sparkle to a long, lazy spring afternoon of superb food and stunning wines.”

Renowned as one of the finest dining experiences in the Queenstown region, Gibbston Valley Restaurant’s Central Otago wine and food experience features seasonal selections that match the freshest ingredients with award-winning wines.

Tickets for the lunch start from $135 per person including Mediterranean-inspired dishes and a glass of non-vintage bubbles on arrival. To book go to

Event tickets are available from the Gay Ski Week QT website and up-to-the-minute news can be found online at

Photo caption:

1/ Enjoy one of Central Otago’s finest wine and food experiences at Gay Ski Week QT

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Queenstown’s Five Mile retail centre “goes from strength to strength” with new retailers open and bus service coming soon

Media Release from Five Mile Retail and Business Centre

Queenstown’s newest and most exciting retail and business centre is going from strength to strength with the addition of new retailers and increased levels of business activity.

The recent New Zealand school holidays saw a marked increase in traffic to Five Mile, an expanding retail centre sitting at the gateway to Queenstown on the Frankton Flats.

Pizza chain Dominos — renowned for its high-quality pizzas, sides and chicken at an affordable price – opened in Five Mile Place last week with its second store in the Queenstown district.

Family clothing chain Postie Plus also opened at Five Mile over the holidays, offering its full range of women’s, men’s, children and beauty ranges, as well as school clothing and accessories.

At the other end of the spending spectrum, a full display suite for Remarkables Residences, a range of three to five-bedroom multi-storey townhouses, recently opened at Five Mile.

The homes will be built just minutes away from Five Mile in the expanding Frankton Flats zone. To cater for interest in the development, the display suite is open 10am to 4pm daily with local realtors Sheryl Williams and Mark Martin from Bayleys Queenstown available to meet potential buyers.

This week, American-based specialist gaming store EB Games is to open at Five Mile, bringing its unique brand of gamers pop culture to Queenstown for the first time.

EB Games and Zing Pop Culture Operations Manager Karl Pearson said he was thrilled to bring the store to Queenstown.

As the centre expands, it has welcomed news of a new public bus service to and from Five Mile which will enable visitors and locals to visit more frequently and at a heavily-subsidised price.

The proposed new service will be operated by the Queenstown Lakes District and Otago regional councils and is expected to start this spring. Buses will run every 15 to 30 minutes in peak times and an introductory $2 fare is to be trialled across all zones for GoCard users and a free transfer within 30 minutes.

For the first time, Five Mile will have its own bus stop on Grant Road, between the centre and the roundabout on State Highway 6. Route tracking is still being finalized but Five Mile is seen as “key” to the network as it sits on an arterial link within the Queenstown district. Three of the four routes are proposed to come via Five Mile.

Five Mile Centre Manager Eric Nauta said the bus service would be very welcome as the centre had been “choc-a-bloc” since the school holidays.

“The centre’s now a hive of activity with outdoor parking at a premium over peak periods, although the hundreds of free, fully lit and warm underground car parks are something of a ‘locals hack’ for those in the know.

“We’ve certainly noticed that ever since Dominoes opened there’s been a stream of people venturing into other businesses while they wait for their pizzas!”

Anchor tenants The Warehouse and Countdown have also helped draw visitors to the centre.

Countdown opened in stage one close to two years ago along with retail outlets previously unseen in Queenstown such as Briscoes, Rebel Sports, Warehouse Stationary and Number One Shoes. Countdown is open from 7am to 10pm daily, while the country’s largest retail giant The Warehouse, open until midnight daily, opened at the end of March.

The Warehouse opened with a new store that was 25% bigger than its previous location, offering customers a wider range of goods and services, improved flexibility and longer opening hours.

Five Mile currently has 31 retail outlets and nine office-based businesses, and continues to expand.

Businesses are as diverse as insurance giant AMI, hairdressers Hair On Five Mile, the Five Mile Pharmacy, Café Society, Hikari Sushi, Helloworld, Noel Leeming and the recently-expanded Bed, Bath & Beyond.

For locals and workers at Five Mile there’s the convenience of a childcare centre, a health store and juice bar for those keeping fit and well, two physiotherapists, laundromat, dry cleaner and even a nail bar.

“Five Mile really does have something for everyone,” said Mr Nauta. “It’s an enjoyable and relaxed shopping experience, centrally located and with over 1000 free car parks, a true ‘one-stop-shop’ for locals and visitors.

“The good news is that it continues to expand with more outlets opening and a further development stage expected to start later this year.”

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Crowne Plaza Christchurch marks opening with official launch event

Media Release from Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Paying homage to the past while celebrating the future was the theme of Crowne Plaza Christchurch’s opening event.

More than 100 guests celebrated at the launch party which acknowledged the hotel’s history while looking forward to the resurgence of the “city of opportunity”.

Guest speakers included the Hon Nicky Wagner, MP for Christchurch Central and the Associate Minister of Tourism, along with Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

They were joined by Alan Watts, InterContinental Hotels Group Chief Operating Officer for Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and building co-owner Shane Le Compte of local investment and development company MC Christchurch Holdings.

The scene was set as a Victorian-style paperboy greeted guests at the hotel door before making their way up to Market Place restaurant and bar. The hotel sits on the site of Christchurch’s first hotel, the Golden Fleece, established in 1851.

Guests were treated to champagne and canapés on arrival, followed by dishes flowing throughout the night from the Market Place fishmonger, butcher, cheesemonger and patisserie stations mirroring the Market Place of old – known to Cantabrians today as Victoria Square.

COO Alan Watts, who started his hotel career in Christchurch, said the re-opening of Crowne Plaza was among a number of milestones to get Christchurch back on the map and he had wanted to celebrate with the city.

“I felt a little bit emotional seeing the Crowne Plaza signage on this building,” he told guests. “General Manager Reinier Eulink and his team have done a stunning job in getting this hotel open and operating to the standard we see today.

“I think it’s going to be as good and as much of a landmark as the former Crowne Plaza, where I started my career. We’ll open 20-something hotels this year, and none more important than this one.”

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the city had long been known as New Zealand’s Garden City and the experience of the past seven years had enabled it to re-imagine itself as a city of opportunity.

“Christchurch is a place where anything is possible and you feel that in this building,” she said.

Building co-owner Shane Le Compte, attending the launch with his family, simply said “welcome to our place”.

“We’re returning an iconic Christchurch landmark to the city,” he said.

MP Nicky Wagner said it had been a “privilege” to listen to the wisdom and passion of everyone involved with the hotel project.

“It’s a beautiful refurbishment and re-purposing, and it’s full of energy,” she said.

“It’s an important milestone for Christchurch to open a new hotel and welcome an international brand. We’re delighted that you’ve brought us 204 extra beds because we need them!

“Thanks to Crowne Plaza and thanks to Shane and your team for creating this building that’s good for Christchurch, good for Canterbury and good for New Zealand.”

The new Crowne Plaza Christchurch is situated on the corner of Colombo and Armagh streets opposite Victoria Square.

Picture caption:

1/ Celebrating the launch of Crowne Plaza Christchurch were (L to R) IHG Area General Manager NZ Tim Pollock, IHG Australasia and Japan COO Karin Sheppard, General Manager Reinier Eulink and Alan Watts, IHG COO for Asia, Middle East and Africa

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