General Manager Appointed for iFLY Queenstown

Media Release from iFLY Queenstown A Queenstown business leader with wide-ranging tourism industry experience has been appointed General Manager of the most exciting new tourism venture to launch in New Zealand this year. Matt Wong, 40, will bring his strong business and operational management skills to iFLY Indoor Skydiving, New Zealand’s only indoor skydiving wind…

iFLY Queenstown is a project between SkyVenture International which manufactures iFLY wind tunnels and Auckland-based couple Emma and Gary Beyer, former skydiving world champions from the UK and the US.

Matt, who starts his new role in early June, says he “can’t wait” to be working on such an exciting and unique adventure tourism activity.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity to help launch and manage the most dynamic business to enter the Queenstown tourism market in years,” he says.

“iFLY Queenstown will be accessible to a wide demographic because it’s safe for all from three years upwards while still having the adrenalin factor.

“It’s perfect for all the new and emerging growth markets for tourism, and as it can continue to operate when the sun goes down and in any weather it fills a gap in the market where there’s not a heck of a lot of options for adventure tourism, and especially families, in the evenings.

“Thanks to Emma and Gary the company has a small ‘Kiwi’ feel to it with two passionate skydive professionals at the helm who are driven to make this thing work, with the backing of a global ‘family’ of experts in the iFLY international arena.

“To have directors who love what they do and are as passionate about flying as they are has been make or break for me. I can’t wait to build the team and the business and look forward to seeing how far we can take this dream of flight in the next three to five years.”

Matt’s most recent role has been as General Manager for Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters in Queenstown, including overseeing and driving business for Queenstown Snowmobiles, the Franz Josef i-SITE Visitor Centre and helicopter operations in Franz Josef.

He was previously General Manager of the Queenstown i-SITE Visitor Centre, and World Travellers Queenstown and Wanaka.

iFLY Queenstown co-director Emma Beyer describes Matt’s appointment as an “important step” towards launching the business and growing a dedicated team of management and skydive professionals from around the world.

“For anyone who’s ever dreamed of flying, this is for you,” she says.

“Being in the wind tunnel is exactly the same freefall sensation as when skydivers jump from a plane, only you can safely float with no parachute, no jumping and no gravity pull towards Planet Earth!

“We’re delighted to have Matt on board to help bring this unforgettable experience to life, one that comes with 100% pure flight loaded with adrenalin, adventure and attitude.

“It will leave visitors grinning from ear to ear and is just as safe for kids as it is thrilling for teens and challenging for adults.”

iFLY Queenstown is located in Brecon Street, overlooking Queenstown Bay and the Remarkables Mountain range. Once open, it will operate every day of the year, come rain or shine. On-site facilities include a 360-degree viewing platform so visitors can share the magic with friends and family, and a bar and café.

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Treble Cone Extends Earlybird Season Pass Pricing

Media Release from Treble Cone Winter arrived with recent snow down to low levels and freezing overnight temperatures. And the good news is that snow lovers are in luck, thanks to Wanaka’s Treble Cone ski area. The South Island’s largest ski resort has extended its earlybird season pass sale to give die-hard local supporters, and…

Earlybird prices extended until the end of April (Monday April 30) means skiers, snowboarders and families can snap up season passes to hit the slopes as often as they want this winter, helping celebrate Treble Cone’s 50th birthday.

The deal is also the last opportunity for families to purchase a Family Unlimited season pass for two adults and children aged 17 or under, the perfect stress-free way for the whole family to enjoy winter goodness on the legendary Treble Cone slopes.

The earlybird extension is Treble Cone’s way of saying “thanks” to its loyal locals and avid fans.

For families living in Wanaka and Central Otago the offer gets even better, with Treble Cone reintroducing an extensive and better value local pass for children enrolled in Queenstown Lakes District and Central Otago District Council schools.

These passes are available to students from as far afield as Roxburgh and Glenorchy, part of Treble Cone’s renewed commitment to attract the next generation of young skiers and snowboarders. Passes are available until May 31, priced at just $99 for primary children and $149 for intermediate/secondary children.

Access to the mountain in 2018 will be easier than ever with the introduction of a free TC Mountain Shuttle to drive guests from the bottom of the access road straight to the slopes.

With lift access to 1960m, pass holders will be grinning ear-to-ear thanks to unlimited riding and no blackout days – meaning there’s no chance of missing a precious powder day.

Unlimited earlybird adult and child season passes are just $1399 and $349 respectively, providing full mountain lift access throughout the season. A Family Unlimited season pass is priced at $2599.

Renowned for its 550 hectares of skiable terrain, the longest vertical in the Southern Alps (a leg-burning 700m) and a sunny northwest-facing beginner area, Treble Cone is the perfect destination for every level of skier or snowboarder.

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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…

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…

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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