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…

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…

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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Business high for tourism brochure distribution company

Media release from VisitorPoint New Zealand-based brochure distribution company VisitorPoint finished 2017 with its biggest month on record. The company’s distribution services hit a record high for December 2017, close to 1.3 million brochures dispatched in December alone, up 11% on December 2016. More than 10.9 million brochures were distributed in 2017.

VisitorPoint is New Zealand’s only national distributor of travel and tourism information, having distributed brochures throughout New Zealand for more than 30 years.

Delighted about placing more tourism products in market than ever before, business development manager Jenni Powell said the increase was a big accomplishment, especially in today’s digital age.

“Printed tourism brochures are certainly not a thing of the past in New Zealand,” she said.

“More than 38% of visitors are using travel brochures as a primary source of information for bookings.

“December is always a particularly busy month for us but to see such a significant percentage increase nationally is really impressive.

“We’ve been working really hard to help spread national growth into the regions, alongside Tourism New Zealand’s efforts to promote regional growth.”

Distribution in Northland, Marlborough and Dunedin grew significantly with over 30% increase in each region.

Mrs Powell said the growth was a result of growing demand, the company’s suite of products and increased accessibility of advertisers to potential clients and trade.

“After a bumper year of growth, we’re looking ahead to our target of 11 million brochures for 2018, and continuing to grow and develop in the regions beyond the popular tourist spots.”

With offices in Queenstown, Christchurch and Auckland, the company has over 2000 physical display outlets nationally, and 30 staff including 19 high-profile merchandisers who are constantly on the road supplying its 36 distribution circuits.

Picture caption:

1/ VisitorPoint’s distribution services hit a record high for December 2017. Image credit: Colin Walkington

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Major milestone for Millbrook Resort’s new golf course and residential expansion

Media release from Millbrook Resort Queenstown’s award-winning Millbrook Resort is celebrating a major milestone — taking the next step towards developing a neighbouring farm into a new golf course interspersed with high-end residential homes. The development — with an estimated cost of $45m — has been three years in the planning. In 2014 the Overseas…

On October 18 the QLDC notified its approval of an extension to the existing Millbrook Resort Zone subject to appeals. The appeal period closed on 30 November with no third-party appeals believed to have been submitted.

Millbrook itself has appealed one narrow aspect of a solitary rule which is expected to be resolved quickly. Once resolved, the new ‘District Plan Chapter 43 – Millbrook’ will become operative.

The new development will add nine new golf holes to Millbrook’s current world-class 27-hole offering, meaning two full 18-hole courses will operate when it opens.

Site clearance is scheduled to start in early 2018, including a raft of ecological and landscape enhancements. Once the new golf course is constructed and ‘grown-in’ the aim is for it to be open for play over the summer of 2021/22.

Introducing a 36-hole format at Millbrook will be a ‘game changer’ for the resort in more ways than one. Millbrook Director of Golf Brian Spicer said the additional nine holes of golf on the farm land would effectively add 100% golf capacity.

“It will mean we have two fully operational 18-hole courses that can be played simultaneously for minimal additional maintenance costs” he said.

“It’s fantastic news because it will cater not only for our Millbrook Country Club members and locals, but for the significant growth opportunities for high-yielding golf tourism in New Zealand, particularly here in the Queenstown Lakes area.

“Our plan is to run one private members’ course and one public course, changing the holes played on a daily basis.

“That adds to the exclusivity of our golf club offering for our 480 family memberships, and alternating it will keep it interesting for members and be an incentive for visiting golfers to stay an additional night and play the other course.”

Millbrook Director of Property and Development Ben O’Malley said the re-zoning and notification process had been “extremely comprehensive” and the resort was delighted to have reached this milestone moment.

“We’ve worked very closely with the QLDC to reach this point in the planning process and they’ve been pragmatic enough to see the wider benefits of extending the Millbrook Resort Zone, for which we’re very grateful,” he said.

“Our membership base continues to grow with the continued success of our building programme within the existing Millbrook Zone and with the 42 homes that are planned for the new land.”

The news has also been welcomed by Golf Tourism New Zealand (GTNZ) Executive Director Ryan Brandeburg. GTNZ had been tasked with growing the value of inbound golf tourism from $145M to $223M by the end of 2016.

“I’m happy to report that we currently sit well in excess of $300M annually, and Queenstown has proven to be an incredible draw for international visitors,” said Ryan.

“The town captures a significant amount of the 32,000 international visitor rounds played across New Zealand’s marquee courses in 2016, and happily many of those visitors are lovers of wine too, which Queenstown’s pretty good at!”

Mr Brandeburg said the timing of the new course was “perfect”, with the quality seen across Millbrook’s existing 27-holes, The Hills golf course and other courses in the region meaning the destination was poised to be a drawcard for international golfers for years to come.

“However with competitor markets on the rise, such as the 25 golf courses under construction in Vietnam, we need to continue investing in our golf product to be competitive in the multi-billion dollar international golf tourism space.”

Mr O’Malley said the stunningly unique topography of the Dalgleish farm land provided a fantastic opportunity for the golf course designers, as well as lending itself to development of two geographically-separated residential neighbourhoods.

The large upper plateau contains 24 sites hidden from view from Malaghans Road and other public places while boasting elevated panoramic views over fairways and pastoral lands to the wider basin. The lower slopes are home to a further 18 sites with north-facing outlooks over an enhanced Mill Stream and the last of the stunning new golf holes.

The golf course layout is the brainchild of experienced golf course designers Greg Turner and Scott Macpherson who designed Millbrook’s new Coronet Nine in 2007/8. The new holes will combine with the Coronet Nine to make an 18-hole course.

The new holes make the most of the beautifully ice sculptured valleys and dramatically undulating land form which allows for what is believed to be the highest golf in the region, if not New Zealand.

Former NZ golf pro Greg Turner said much of the new nine would occupy “perhaps the most spectacular landscape at Millbrook.”

“With the combination of the Arrow and Coronet nines receiving such universal acclaim from the NZ Open field this year, to be able to extend the Coronet experience to a full 18 is an exciting prospect indeed,” he said.

Parts of Mill Stream will be widened to create larger waterways, and other areas will be retained as over 20 hectares of working farmland, featuring common grazing land and an historic woolshed that will be rebuilt and relocated to a paddock adjoining Malaghans Road.

The original 1860’s farmhouse will be retained with some sympathetic additions, and an existing visible irrigation pipe, part of the Arrow Irrigation Company network, will be relocated and buried underground. An irrigation reservoir and pumphouses will also be built on site.

Mr O’Malley said the new development would retain a rural, agrarian style thanks to the rustic open farm areas scattered around the course, including the high hillocks that form a natural western geographical ‘end point’ to the resort.

“As a local response to the geographical conditions, planting on the upper plateau will be limited to native species, and our design guidelines refined to reflect the location of these homes. The landscape and architecture on the lower slopes will be a continuation of the established Millbrook style of development.

“So for those living there or playing the course it will have its own unique look, style and feel, from rich bird and fish life in restored wetlands and deeply-incised rock walled valleys to the montane upper plateau where grazed hillocks transition into manicured fairways and carefully-designed residential areas.

“We can’t wait to start work on this and bring it to life after so many years in the planning.

“As one of the largest employers in the region this new development will ensure that Millbrook Resort continues to make a very significant contribution to the local and national economy.”

Picture caption:
1/ An aerial view of stunning Dalgleish Farm which Millbrook Resort will develop into a new golf course with residential homes

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