Young Landscaper of the Year and national awards medal bonanza for Southern Landmarx

Queenstown landscaping company Southern Landmarx had a glittering night at the Landscapes of Distinction Awards in Christchurch over the weekend.

Queenstown landscaping company Southern Landmarx had a glittering night at the Landscapes of Distinction Awards in Christchurch over the weekend.

Not only did they bring home an outstanding three gold and three silver medals for two Cromwell-based landscape projects, but their Operations Manager Tama Ritter won New Zealand Young Landscaper of the Year.

Southern Landmarx directors Jaye and Joe Nutting paid tribute to the “hard work and determination” shown by Tama in winning the national title.

“We’re all extremely proud of him after he came to us seven years ago knowing nothing about landscaping, but he’s worked his way up from an apprentice to the top,” said Jaye.

Tama, 28, said he had found his day of practical tests, a speech and interviews, up against 12 other competitors, “a bit nerve wracking and daunting.”

He won two Outstanding Achievement awards in Career Development and Communications before he was named the overall winner at the gala dinner presentation.

“It was such a surprise to hear my name being called out and it still hasn’t really sunk in, to be honest,” he said. “But I see it as confirmation of how far I have come in the industry, and it’s the cherry on top of all the hard work over the years.

“I love landscaping because it isn’t just one skillset, it’s such a wide variety of work. Each project has new and interesting challenges.

“You take a ‘blank’ landscape around some awesome houses and then the visual aspect of what we add is huge. It’s like dressing the house so it’s shown off to its full advantage, maximising the landscape and its surrounds.”

Southern Landmarx faced stiff competition from a record number of entries from all around New Zealand for the landscape awards.

The company won an impressive two gold medals in landscape construction and landscape horticulture for its Clutha River Views entry, as well as a silver for design. It also won a gold medal in landscape construction for its Dunstan Vista residence along with two silvers for design and horticulture.

Jaye and Joe said it was a “fantastic acknowledgement” of the hard work that had gone into the two properties by their 16-strong team.

“We also want to acknowledge the vision and dedication of the owners and their collaborative approach which has enabled us to do so well across these three key residential landscape categories,” said managing director Joe.

“We’re thrilled to win these awards which recognise and celebrate the high-quality design and construction of our work, and our ability to use plants that have been locally raised and ‘hardened off’ in our Cromwell-based Burn Cottage Nursery.”

Joe said the Clutha River Views project was a “particularly inspiring” garden to work on due to the owners’ desire to incorporate an historical element into a new build, integrating elements of their past home to which they had an emotional attachment following the Christchurch earthquakes.

The Dunstan Vista project was inspired by family, meeting not only the needs of the clients but their grandchildren. For that reason it incorporated an expansive lawn for the children to play, a pool area for the heat of summer and a unique, peaceful seating area away from the main home where the owners could relax while soaking up the views.

For more information about Southern Landmarx go to

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Lake Hawea sections hit the market at Longview

One of the most eagerly-awaited developments in the ‘hot’ Queenstown Lakes property market has hit the market this week.

One of the most eagerly-awaited developments in the ‘hot’ Queenstown Lakes property market has hit the market this week.

Universal Developments has released the first tranche of sections at Longview in Lake Hawea, meaning offers can be made now.

Just 55 bare sections are being released on the 35ha development for 2021, on a stunning piece of land that’s just three minutes from the Lake Hawea water’s edge and a short drive from Wanaka.

Section prices start at $239,000 and are being marketed as ideal for first-home buyers, many of whom are struggling to get on the property ladder in the current market, retirees and those looking for the perfect holiday home.

Lake Hawea is renowned for its recreational opportunities including boating, mountain biking, kayaking and walking. Access to Wanaka’s world-renowned ski areas is less than an hour’s drive away.

The Wanaka and Lake Hawea areas are among the fastest growing in the country – just recently a plan to develop a massive film park on the outskirts of Wanaka was hailed as a “game-changer”. Silverlight Studioshas been given Government approval to apply under special Covid-19 legislation for a fast-tracked consent application to build film studios, production offices and a film and technology school.

Harcourts Wanaka agents Eamon and Riki Young say that in a fast-moving property market, buying land off the plan might just be the smartest way to make the most of record low interest rates and stake a claim in the Queenstown Lakes real estate market.

With some of the most affordable sections and packages in the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes districts, the area is being seen as a future satellite township for Wanaka and Eamon Young believes it won’t take long for land to be snapped up.

Affordable land and home packages will also be available with a range of local building companies lining up to work on options for buyers ranging from $499,000 to $549,000, $599,000 and $650,000, all under the ceiling for the Home Start Grant. There are also packages above the $650,000 figure.

Ten group homebuilders will each have a show home in a dedicated precinct at the subdivision.

“We’re already seeing strong interest in the initial release, and as it’s first-come first-served, those quick off the mark can choose their section and get underway with building their dream home,” says Eamon.

Longview has consent in place for a childcare centre and for a commercial building containing a licensed café, offices and commercial tenancies. It also features two large reserves and children’s playground.

Titles on the first sections are expected in April 2022. All enquiries can be directed to [email protected].

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Millbrook Resort forges ahead with investment in new development

Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort is forging ahead with substantial investment plans as it works towards opening nine new golf holes later this year.

Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort is forging ahead with substantial investment plans as it works towards opening nine new golf holes later this year.

In a boost to New Zealand golf tourism, a $4million-plus infrastructure investment is aimed at enhancing the five star resort’s guest experience in preparation for the launch of its 36-hole golf offering.

In addition to the resort’s existing 27-holes, the new nine golf holes recently constructed will make Millbrook one of only two golf courses in New Zealand to offer two distinctly different 18-hole courses.

Golf construction works start March 2021 on a new practice putting green near the golf shop and reception building, along with the reconfiguration of tees on the Remarkables No. 1 hole. This work makes way for the construction of new golf cart storage barns and cart wash-down facilities.

A 25m-wide tree lined boulevard will be created between the new cart barns and golf shop, which has been designed as a shared space for pedestrians, golf carts and vehicles from the reception area towards The Spa, Health & Fitness Centre and the new Coronet golf course.

The golf shop will also receive major alterations and renovations including French doors opening out onto a new deck towards the starters area, and new retail fit-out.

An improved arrival court adjacent to the reception building will create a larger, safer and easier to navigate forecourt with views over the new practice putting green and towards The Remarkables. Significant hard and soft landscaping improvements designed by Baxter Design and a new porters’ shed complete improvements in this area.

Millbrook’s Director of Property and Development Ben O’Malley says the latest project is part of continued planned investment in resort development and improvements.

Work is nearly complete on the $50m development of the Mill Farm area of Millbrook which houses the new golf holes and two residential neighbourhoods. The 67-hectare site will be home to what Millbrook believes to be the highest commercial golf tee in the country at 480 metres above sea level.

“We continue to invest in the resort’s long-term future and the timing could not be better to carry out this work in the build-up to next summer and the 2022 New Zealand Open,” he says.

“With a carefully planned work sequence we don’t anticipate the work will have any major impact on our visitors, golfers and members but we very much appreciate their patience while it’s underway.”

Work is anticipated to be completed in December this year.

A video of the new Mill Farm development is here.

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Ziptrek Ecotours takes eco-education to new heights 

Ziptrek Ecotours aims to educate and inspire New Zealand’s leaders of tomorrow towards long-term environmental and sustainable practices with a pioneering new eco-education outdoor learning programme in Queenstown.

Ziptrek Ecotours aims to educate and inspire New Zealand’s leaders of tomorrow towards long-term environmental and sustainable practices with a pioneering new eco-education outdoor learning programme in Queenstown.

The company is using its architecturally designed treehouses and ziplines high on Bob’s Peak as an ‘outdoor classroom’ to showcase sustainable tourism at work and how businesses can future-proof for environmental, social and financial success.

The interactive eco-education programme is primarily aimed at tertiary students, career advisors and educators and is a practical ‘take’ on the STEM curriculum of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  Tours are custom-designed to align with each group’s academic requirements.

Science is covered off with discussions on Ziptrek’s biodiversity, introduced species and Predator Free 2050 support as well as its work in becoming a Carbon Zero business. Technology talks to the systems and design used to streamline Ziptrek’s business, such as remote area solar energy powering cameras and gates, while the structural design benefits and challenges of the treehouses and ziplines is a must for engineers. Maths is applied to the metrics measuring Ziptrek’s business and the physics and cable design in ziplines.

The two-hour experience starts from $49 per person and includes a tailored talk by one of the team, a site exploration, and a zip down the world’s steepest tree to tree zipline – dropping 30 storeys in 10 seconds at speeds of up to 70kmph.   There are also options to upgrade to either the four-line Moa Tour or premium six-line Kea tour.

The outdoor learning initiative aligns with Ziptrek’s deep commitment to education, sustainability and conservation.   It forms part of its ongoing work under New Zealand’s Tourism Sustainability Commitment and the Future-Fit framework, a global and open-sourced sustainability framework relating to UN development goals.

Other initiatives within its education programme include a Paper4Trees recycling project with pre-schools and schools, and Queenstown Resort College internships.

Ziptrek executive director Trent Yeo believes that while COVID-19 has created opportunity for a tourism reset and renewed focus on sustainability, more education is needed to achieve New Zealand’s vision to lead the world in sustainable tourism.

“We hope our new eco-education tour will help inform, inspire and empower New Zealand’s leaders of tomorrow to think more deeply about doing business in a way that creates long-term value for our people, our economy and our environment,” he says.

“Our tour turns theory into practice through ‘outside the classroom’ learning and helps participants experience first-hand some of the exciting and innovative career pathways within the tourism industry.

“We also demonstrate how our business decisions, centred around making the right call for the environment and our community, have translated into a world-class adventure experience and sustainable tourism business.”

Early uptake on the programme has proven successful with several tertiary institutions, including ARA Institute of Canterbury and the Auckland-based Crown Institute of Studies, which provides training in travel and tourism hospitality, health and wellbeing, business and computing, giving it rave reviews.

“I’ve heard from all the career advisors and teachers who experienced your programme that your company is inspirational and futuristic,” says Dr Josephine Do, Managing Director of Crown Institute of Studies.

Career/education advisors from Southland Careers and Transition Education (CATE) also visited recently to better understand employment possibilities for young people from their region, careers in the tourism sector and how places like Queenstown are adapting in response to a COVID world.

The programme’s been welcomed by regional tourism body Destination Queenstown which also presents to visiting groups.

“Ziptrek is one of many Queenstown operators which has thought outside the square to develop new and exciting programmes and product in the aftermath of Covid,” says DQ acting General Manager Ann Lockhart.

“We’re fully supportive of their education initiative, especially as this helps us demonstrate that there IS a future in tourism for our young people, with exciting and innovative career pathways in the industry. We have some of the best tourism operators in the country running businesses here.”

For more information about tour options visit

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