New child health and education hub to open at Queenstown’s Remarkables Park

Media Release from Mountain Ash Drive Health and Education Hub

A health and education hub incorporating a new Early Learning Centre, extra-curricular facility Kip McGrath and offices for much-needed child wellbeing services will open next year at Queenstown’s Remarkables Park.

The $5m two-storey commercial building is situated along the western boundary of the new Wakatipu High School site, accessed off Mountain Ash Drive.

Designed by Christchurch’s DD Architects, the project has been led by quantity surveyor and engineer Karsten Pedersen of KPCO Ltd and is being built by Alpine Group Construction Ltd.

The building will house the Remarkable Start Early Learning Centre for 70-plus children on the ground floor, and the relocated Kip McGrath centre as well as child therapy and psychology services on the first floor.

The new Early Learning Centre is an integral part of the building and will be operated by owner proprietors Debs McKerchar and Candice Stewart.  Remarkable Start will help meet a growing need for quality preschool child education in the district.

“Debs and I are very passionate about our families and our local communities, nurturing those relationships to positively impact the lives of families and young children,” said Candice.

“Remarkable Start will be an independent centre with a very tailor-made and personal approach to giving each child the best possible start to their learning and young lives.

“The central Frankton location is perfect because it’s easily accessible to the wider Wakatipu community, and it’s a brand-new, purpose-built building designed to receive natural warmth and light, even in the middle of winter.

“Our vision is to create a superior quality centre that’s leading edge in New Zealand.”

Remarkable Start will provide a fun, nurturing environment for youngsters from one to six years. Four core learning spaces – each named after well-known Queenstown landmarks – will be tailored to the needs and abilities of different age groups.

Remarkable Start will operate year-round, Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. Debs and Candice have been working in the education sector in and around Queenstown for over a decade, and in 2016 Candice was awarded a prestigious National Excellence in Teaching Award for making an impact in her local community.

The new building will also ‘spread the net wider’ as a dedicated Health and Education hub that factors in the wellbeing of all children.

Rooms on the upper level will be fully set up as professional spaces for childcare specialists such as paediatric occupational therapy, educational psychology, speech and language therapy, behavioural psychology and specialised dyslexia teachers.

“Many parents with children needing specialist care or tutoring have to regularly travel to Invercargill, Dunedin or even Christchurch to access services they need,” said Wanaka-based paediatric occupational therapist Jenna Hale of Dynamic Developments. Ms Hale will manage the services.

“We have four rooms and a boardroom in the new building to make it easier than ever before for professionals to establish regular clinics here in Queenstown and help take the load off families who are struggling with children in need,” she said.

“Local families have been crying out for a facility like this, with a multi-disciplinary team under one roof, because there just isn’t anything like it at the moment.

“Children have been slipping through the gap because people just didn’t know where they could be referred to. Now we can take a streamlined, collaborative approach to providing assessment and ongoing treatment on one site, working in with schools and other relevant agencies.”

Kip McGrath will amalgamate its existing Queenstown and Arrowtown offices to create a new Wakatipu Centre at what it sees as the new ‘geographical centre’ of town.

“It will be about the same size in total as what we currently have, but configured much more efficiently,” said Kip McGrath owner Emma Wilson.

“It’s been designed to operate much more effectively alongside parents, schools and other agencies, and it makes sense for its physical location to be alongside the new Wakatipu High School, as our Queenstown premises is currently.”

Approximately two-thirds of the current Kip McGrath roll are primary school pupils from around the district and a third come from the high school.

“We’re there to help kids whether they’re struggling at school, going through a tricky patch, have learning issues or they’re working at higher levels and need to be challenged,” said Emma.

“This will be a fantastic, flexible and accessible space, well set up with great internet, and designed at all levels to be suitable for different uses during the day and at weekends.”

The new building is scheduled to operate from early next year with registrations of interest being taken now for Remarkable Start. Enrolments for up to 250 Kip McGrath students have also opened.

The new Wakatipu High School is scheduled to open in February 2018.

Picture caption:

1/ Exciting new businesses are opening in Queenstown with (L to R) Jenna Hale of Dynamic Developments, Debs McKerchar and Candice Stewart of Remarkable Start Early Learning Centre and Emma Wilson of Kip McGrath

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Crowne Plaza Christchurch pays tribute to the past with pianist Peter Lewis at Christmas

Media Release from Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Crowne Plaza Christchurch is throwing a festive, family Christmas this year all wrapped up with oodles of fun, a glass or two of festive bubbles and the return of the hotel’s legendary ‘piano man’ Peter Lewis.

For 23 years Peter played the piano in the original Crowne Plaza Hotel lobby before his smooth harmonious tunes ended with the February 2011 earthquake.

“I was employed as a full-time pianist from the day the hotel opened, making lots of friends near and far,” said Peter.

“Many of the local guests today still enquire from time to time as to where I might be playing.

“I have lots of fond memories of meeting an amazing range of people including celebrities such as George Harrison from The Beatles, John Cleese and the list goes on.”

In recognition of the many hours he spent tinkling the ivories at the hotel, he was gifted the piano he used to play after it closed its doors.

So it’s only fitting that on the new hotel’s first Christmas Day, he’ll be back to add a touch of nostalgia to the celebrations as a guest performer welcoming diners to their lunch or dinner celebrations.

The menu is groaning with Christmas classics such as stuffed turkey and cranberry sauce, honey-glazed champagne ham, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without kiwi favourites including oysters, prawns in cocktail sauce, Canterbury leg of lamb or Akaroa salmon amongst others.

On the basis that guests are never full enough on this celebratory day, they can top it all off with traditional Christmas pudding, Eton Mess, macaroons or trifle. Or all of the above!

Crowne Plaza General Manager Reinier Eulink is looking forward to the hotel-playing host to a fun-filled family Christmas.

“We’re bringing back a little bit of the old ambience with the hotel’s beloved piano man Peter, tying this in with our past and present,” he said.

“For us it’s also a chance to highlight the wonderful first year we’re having and raise a toast to how far we’ve come.”

Adult diners on Christmas Day will receive complimentary bubbles on arrival with Social Wine Bar open from midday. Festivities can begin on a high note with soft drinks for the kids and even a dedicated television and games room for younger family members!

Meanwhile for businesses looking to kick off the silly season in the office with a Crowne Plaza hosted Christmas work party, the hotel’s function packages are sure to get staff rocking around the Christmas tree.

Custom events start from $40 to $79 with a range of catering offers, each including a welcome glass of bubbles on arrival, so businesses can rest assured it will be no silent night.

Function capacities range from small groups of 10 to 35 guests, to larger scale parties up to 140 guests. Package highlights include festive theming, special accommodation rates, Christmas crackers and of course a menu to make your heart sing.

Essential booking information

Christmas Day lunch seating times are from 11.30am to 1.30pm or 2pm to 4pm, and dinner buffet times run from 5pm to 7pm or 7.30pm to 9.30pm.  Bookings are essential by contacting [email protected] or calling 03 741 2810.  

The Christmas Day buffet menu starts at $49 for children from six to 16 years old and $129 for adults. Children aged five or younger dine for free. 

To find out more about Crowne Plaza’s event venues or book your Christmas party contact [email protected] or call 03 741 2810.  

Picture caption:

1/ Peter Lewis is looking forward to recreating Christmas magic at Crowne Plaza Christchurch

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Ziptrek Ecotours ‘Locals day’ a roaring success for Wakatipu High School Branches Camp

Media Release from Ziptrek Ecotours

Queenstown tourism company Ziptrek Ecotours is celebrating another successful ‘Locals Day’ as over 200 locals ‘took to the trees’ yesterday (Sunday October 29) to raise money for chosen charity Wakatipu High School Branches Camp.

Over $5000 was raised for the Branches Trust which financially supports the iconic camp for Year 10 students.

This year for the first time Ziptrek chose three local volunteer organisations as potential beneficiaries of its Locals Day, and asked the community to vote for which charity they wanted to support.

A resounding 56% of the votes backed Branches Camp, which will host 180 students this year.

On the day locals got to experience the Kea-6 line or Moa-4 line at a heavily discounted rate of $50, with proceedings going towards Branches.

Branches Charitable Trust chair Louise Ward said the money raised was a fifth of the funds the trust needed to put towards the camp to keep it affordable for students and families.

“We can’t thank Ziptrek enough for their help, thanks so much,” she said.

“This amazing environment in the trees is in complete harmony with what we do in Branches with our walking, abseiling, use of harnesses and Ziptrek’s emphasis on sustainability.”

Ziptrek Ecotours has been supporting local charitable organisations for nearly eight years and prides itself on its environmental sustainability.

Ziptrek Ecotours director Trent Yeo said it was “awesome” for their staff to see so many Branches fans and advocates on the day, zipping around the forest.

“We’re proud to support a camp that has been providing safe outdoor experiences for fifty years, something that’s a rite of passage for all young people who grow up in the Queenstown district,” he said.

The Branches Trust was formed in 2009 when Wakatipu High School became increasingly worried about rising costs.

Mr Yeo said Locals Day was a favourite with staff because it gave the company the chance to ‘harness up’ a few locals to give them a glimpse into what the company worked towards and how passionate they were.

“Connecting locals and visitors to our surrounding region is important as we’re educating them about the importance of sustainable environmental practice,” he said.

“That’s why it’s been a privilege to raise money for Wakatipu High School so students can help understand and spread this message.”

Local groups Ziptrek has supported to date include the Lakes Family Centre, Youth Booth, Wakatipu Search & Rescue, Kiwi Birdlife Park, St Johns Ambulance, Queenstown Scouts and Wakatipu Reforestation Trust.

Leading the way in zipline innovation and sustainable business practice, Ziptrek Ecotours launched in New Zealand in November 2009 and since then has completed nearly three-quarters of a million zips through the forest canopy on Queenstown Hill on ‘gravity fed ziplines’.

Picture caption:

1/ (L to R) Branches Trust Locals Day fundraisers Kirsty McCorkindale, Louise Ward, Vinny McCorkindale and Ziptrek Ecotours guide Arjun Thakker

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Champagne breakfast starts Cup and Show Day at Crowne Plaza Christchurch in style

Media Release from Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Crowne Plaza Christchurch has partnered with fabulous Bollinger Champagne for one of the most glamorous and highly-anticipated social events on Canterbury’s calendar.

Crowne Plaza’s Cup Day Bollinger Breakfast on November 14 promises to be a delicious way to get the prestigious Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup Day off to a racing start.

The two-hour event in the hotel’s renowned Market Place includes a flute of complimentary Champagne on entry, a sumptuous breakfast, gourmet canapé selection, a T2 iced tea station dressed with seasonal fruits, Clinique touch-up makeup artists on the floor courtesy of Ballantynes, and return coach transfers to the Addington race course.

As it’s the new hotel’s first Cup Day event, it’s promising to pull out all the stops, with ‘whispers’ of a decadent chocolate fountain to delight guests.

Lovers of fashion, fascinators, food and fun will be well catered-for, with the gourmet food spread featuring continental and full breakfast options and a ‘cooked-to-order’ egg station.

There will be something to fill everyone’s appetite from bliss balls to pretzel hot- smoked salmon sliders and a Belgian waffle station, meaning guests will have no trouble fueling up for the day’s action. They can also try new breakfast items including a classic kiwi bacon and egg pie.

Cup Day is considered to be Australasia’s most prominent harness racing event, drawing crowds from all over the country.

Crowne Plaza Christchurch General Manager Reinier Eulink said he couldn’t wait to see Market Place buzzing with colour and laughter.

“Cup Day drew over 20,000 people last year so it’s not only a favourite in the hearts and minds of locals but attracts crowds from all around the country,” he said.

“With Cup Week on the calendar it’s great news not only for our hotel but for the region’s tourism industry.

“We have some fantastic partners lined up our event and we’re looking forward to it really kicking off our summer season with a bang!”

Tickets for Crowne Plaza’s Cup Day Bollinger Breakfast are $75 per person. The event starts at 10am and coaches leave at midday, just in time to catch some of the first races.

The ever-fabulous Canterbury Cup Week will also mark the launch of Crowne Plaza’s delightful High Tea experience. Hosted in Social Wine Bar, groups can enjoy a three-tier assortment of high tea classics such as finger sandwiches, macarons, mini salmon quiches and a glass of bubbles. Dining in the fresh, contemporary downstairs space is a very reasonable $38 per person.

Executive Chef Mirco Turtschi has been busy refining the details of the Bollinger breakfast and High Tea packages.

“This is Crowne Plaza’s first Cup Day in our new premises so we’re excited to showcase what we do with some stunning gourmet breakfast canapés and summer fruits for the breakfast,” he said.

“Our High Teas will be the cherry on the cake, so to speak, and with the fresh seasonal produce that comes with the warmer summer months we’re very much looking forward to inviting guests to sample that taste of summer.”

Social Wine Bar seating for High Tea is limited and tickets for the Cup Day Bollinger Breakfast event are sure to be in hot demand. Bookings are essential by contacting [email protected] or calling (03) 741 2810.

Picture caption:

1) Enjoy a delightful High Tea experience at Crowne Plaza Christchurch’s sophisticated Social Wine Bar

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