Harcourts Queenstown welcomes Hamish Walker to team

Harcourts Queenstown has welcomed former MP and Queenstown resident Hamish Walker to the team as a licensed sales consultant.

Harcourts Queenstown has welcomed former MP and Queenstown resident Hamish Walker to the team as a licensed sales consultant.

Mr Walker, 35, is “returning to his roots” as he originally completed his real estate papers some years ago and has industry experience from across New Zealand.

He was just “days away” from starting work with Harcourts Dunedin three years ago when he was presented with the opportunity to stand for Parliament in the electorate of Clutha-Southland.

Now living in Queenstown since mid-2019, he says he’s looking forward to helping connect people to property, and spending more time at home.

“I’m in the real estate industry to help people reach their goals and next stage of life, we love this community and I feel deeply connected to it having represented the area in Parliament,” he says.

“My enthusiasm for helping others and my relationship with each community in the Wakatipu Basin helps me connect with clients to provide them with the best service possible.

“I enjoy spending time with family, volunteering in the community, refereeing rugby, playing golf, fishing and skiing.”

Mr Walker says highlights of his time in Parliament included successfully lobbying the Government to increase the housing cap by $100,000, and holding the first ever protest march in Queenstown to help keep a much-loved Sri Lankan family stay in “this place we call home” and passing a members bill to help put foster children on a level playing field with other kids.

His previous experience includes founding a property management business in Auckland which he successfully franchised and sold, and he’s worked in the banking and accounting industries.

Over the years he has served the community in roles including a board director on the Otago Rugby Union and as a member of the Otago/Southland Lotteries Committee.

Harcourts Queenstown managing director Warwick Osborne says Hamish is “all about relationships and community” which is the perfect fit for the company.

“Trust, community and shared values are at the heart of doing business in Queenstown and throughout the Harcourts Highland Group’s six offices in Otago, and Hamish’s deep ties to the region make him an ideal addition to our brand,” he says.

“On a sporting level Harcourts is proud to sponsor the Otago Rugby Referees Association and we appreciate the volunteer work Hamish and others like him put into our children, families and the wider community.”

Celebrating 25 years in business next month, Harcourts Queenstown has created a supportive team culture which encourages consultants and all members of staff to reach their full potential.

“We’ve always been a market leader and nationally we’ve been voted New Zealand’s most trusted brand for eight years in a row by our clients, so we’re delighted to welcome Hamish to our team.

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New deals site set to correct the market, lands in the Tasman District and Nelson

The founders of a new discount deals site are calling out the industry for lack of transparency as they launch in the Tasman District and Nelson.

The founders of a new discount deals site are calling out the industry for lack of transparency as they launch in the Tasman District and Nelson.

Everyone loves a good discount but the team behind Deal Champ knows businesses are hurting, trying to keep afloat and keep staff employed.

That’s why they’ve come up with a new concept in online deals that’s touted as a ‘win-win’ for vendors and buyers, acknowledging that Deal Champ’s “on a mission” to disrupt the industry with longevity and sustainability at the forefront.

Co-founder and Business Development Manager Chris Bradley says in the build-up to Covid the deals industry had been “completely broken and out of control”.

“We all love a great deal but not if it forces businesses into a position where costs and commission rates keep going up, yields go down and people lose jobs,” he says.

“The old deals model of booking and payment systems rapidly unravelled as Covid took hold and there were some spectacular fallouts.”

So the Deal Champ model is very different from other deal and online booking sites, where the ‘deal’ the customer sees doesn’t deliver all those much-needed dollars into the operator’s pocket.

“Deal Champ is user-friendly, no contract, no commission and no bullshit,” says Chris.

The brand new business model was hammered out in a late-night brainstorm, fuelled by Covid-19 and a bottle of whisky.

Tasman businesses have been quick to get on board from tourism activities to lawyers and beauty salons and much more.

Deal Champ is the brainchild of the four founders of Queenstown-based Everything Travel Group (ETG) and experienced deals industry guru, Chris.

Nigel Hobbs, Matt Morgan, Callum Goodall and Kris Barrs of ETG had been running the online travel and tourism agency for nearly two decades, watching cracks slowly appear in the deals industry.

Like all good ‘lightbulb moment’ ideas the premise is simple – unlike other models, Deal Champ doesn’t take any commission or fees from vendors. Instead, customers pick their deal and pay 10% of their savings to Deal Champ, thereby ‘accessing’ the deal.

From that moment on, the transaction is between the customer and vendor only, meaning there’s no middleman, no holding payments and no hidden costs. Customers are sent an e-voucher to use to pay the vendor directly.

“We’ve set the bar high right from the get-go as we’re aiming to be the biggest and fairest deals site by Christmas, supporting local all the way,” says Chris.

The site will span across six different industries including experiences (encompassing tourism), accommodation, wellness, dining, retail and services.

Mark Burnaby, Managing Director of Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles, was thrilled to be on board with Deal Champ.

“We love the business model, it’s great that we can offer special promotions to New Zealanders that’s also affordable for our business and gives us some extra exposure online,” says Mark.

“There was definitely a need for Deal Champ, the commissions that have previously been paid on top of a discounted product is not ideal. This business model certainly fits us and it’s solving a problem for sellers and buyers.”

Stacey Annett, owner of The Beauty Lounge Beauty Clinic Nelson, echoed this sentiment.

“We really needed a good, honest deals sight. A lot of people use them as customers, including myself, and it’s good to know this is fair to everyone involved.”

Deal Champ’s Chris is adamant the deals industry needs to work with, not against vendors.

“In a really tough time in business life right now we need to work together to reset the industry and make it transparent so vendors can afford to keep staff employed and yields up.”

Deal Champ also has the investor support of hugely successful tech-hospitality startup First Table, founded by Queenstown’s Mat Weir.

Future developments will enable First Table restaurant listings to be purchased through Deal Champ, making the site New Zealand’s biggest deals platform.

Deal Champ has already launched in Queenstown and Christchurch over the past month and will roll out in different areas throughout New Zealand over the coming months.

Check out the new site here: www.dealchamp.co.nz

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Fiordland summer campaign launches with release of new website

Fiordland is laying out the proverbial red carpet for visitors this summer as the region launches its ‘reset for 2021’ summer campaign.

Fiordland is laying out the proverbial red carpet for visitors this summer as the region launches its ‘reset for 2021’ summer campaign.

Summer in Fiordland is a beautiful thing, and a holiday in this place of overwhelming natural beauty is designed to press the re-set button on the year most of us would rather forget.

The new campaign, targeting domestic travelers and positioning Te Anau as ‘base camp’ for Fiordland adventures, highlights their ‘must-do’s’ (which they’re calling the Great Eights) for visitors who want to experience the best of New Zealand wildlife, cuisine hiking and iconic destinations.

It’s all in the spirit of British writer Rudyard Kipling who declared Milford Sound the eighth wonder of the world back in the 1890’s.

And to make it as easy as can be for visitors to pick and choose between activities and locations guaranteed to make these summer holidays a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Destination Fiordland has launched its brand new Fiordland-Beyond Belief website.

The site is designed to position Fiordland in the minds of domestic travelLers as the ultimate destination to explore and spend time, to educate them about things to do in the region and encourage them to book direct.

The campaign and website come hot on the heels of the launch of new brand Fiordland – Beyond Belief just two short months after Covid ravaged the area’s tourism industry, already reeling after serious flooding damaged access routes and attractions in the area.

But like all good towns that ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to pride in their slice of paradise, Te Anau picked itself up and got back to opening the eyes of domestic visitors to their unique, inspiring, authentic and unmissable part of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The new website draws in potential visitors from around New Zealand who are on a mission to experience glacier-carved cliffs, dense rainforest, pumping waterfalls and the best walking tracks in the country, particularly those who have already made bookings on one of the Great Walks.

The ‘great eights’ – lists of must-do’s in the region — include insights on top locations for wow-factor money shots, foodie favourites from fine dining experiences to a quick but exceptionally good pie, eight great hikes and the lowdown on great wildlife encounters with everything from alpine parrots to reclusive rare and endangered birds and chubby fur seals.

Te Anau is a small town with a big heart, the perfect base camp for summer adventures. The famed Southland hospitality is real, and visitors are welcomed with open arms and treated like a local.

In the summer lush green rainforest abounds, with bright red flowers of the Southern rata (the southern native Christmas tree) dotted throughout.  Temperatures on summer afternoons can soar into the high 20’s so a dip in the lakes, a quiet moment on a stand-up paddle board, a cast of the fishing line or picnic on the beach are all great ways to spend time in Te Anau.

Summer must-do’s include boat cruises on Lake Te Anau or kayaking in Milford (Piopiotahi) or Doubtful (Patea) sounds to spot rare dolphins, penguins and fur seals.  Charter cruises provide outstanding fishing, diving and ocean-to-plate crayfish experiences and there’s a myriad of activities in Te Anau from Glowworm Caves to cycling or just relaxing by the lake like a local.

Take to the air to appreciate the sheer grandeur of towering mountains, glacial-carved valleys, thundering waterfalls and this magnificent coastline.

“Fiordland is incredible at any time of the year, but  summertime is pretty special and we know it will be a huge drawcard for Kiwis looking to spend this summer reconnecting with nature and taking the chance to have a genuine world-class experiences in their own backyard,” says Destination Fiordland manager Madeleine Peacock.

“The new website is a stunning showcase for everything we’ve got to offer and easy to navigate for those looking for inspiration and guidance when booking their ultimate summer getaway.”

Go to https://www.fiordland.org.nz/beyond-belief/ for more.

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Legendary Queenstown attraction Deer Park Heights to re-open

One of New Zealand’s most beloved visitor attractions is opening its gates again after 11 years.

One of New Zealand’s most beloved visitor attractions is opening its gates again after 11 years.

Queenstown’s Deer Park Heights originally opened in 1966 and became a hugely popular attraction, where visitors enjoyed a self-drive safari-style experience on an 800ha working farm boasting some of the best views in New Zealand.

For the past 11 years it has been operating as a breeding and finishing/working deer farm, and this will continue after the park re-opens to the public from October 20. 

The pioneering tourism destination attracted thousands of visitors over the years, and the Mee family are keen to welcome them back.

The technology has been updated, with a new online booking system providing an access code for a specific day for visitors to embark on a scenic drive and animal encounter.  Open seven days a week between daylight hours, Deer Park Heights is still the great value, family-orientated experience it always was.

Visitors to the park on the sunny Kelvin Heights Peninsula can get up close and personal with red and fallow deer, goats, miniature horses, llamas, alpacas, donkeys, and the delightfully different Kunekune pigs.

A $2 coin buys a tin of sheep nuts from a feeding station for some fun hand-feeding and a lifetime of memorable Instagram moments.

Visitors self-drive 5km up the road to several lookouts and stop to feed animals as they see them. At picnic spots, visitors can stretch their legs with a 20-minute walk to take in outstanding 360-degree views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range. There’s no time limit on visits.

Movie buffs will recognise locations which featured in a range of Hollywood films such as Lord Of The Rings, Wolverine and Pete’s Dragon. Deer Park Heights has been in the same family for over 60 years and was one of the first deer farms in New Zealand to breed deer in captivity.

Owner Mike Mee says they’re keen to make it accessible for visitors once more because it’s “such a great place to go”.

“We were one of the Queenstown tourism pioneers when we opened at the same time as jetboat company Kjet and Skyline,” says Mike.

“Now we want to welcome visitors to a great fun, good value family day out for those who want to spend time in the outdoors and with our animals.

“To make it more family orientated we are limiting access to vehicles with up to 7-seats, excluding buses, minivans and commercial vehicles.  Unfortunately there’s no access for hikers or cyclists from the tollgate as they tend to scare the animals away, especially the deer.

“It’s such an amazing location and it seems a shame to not share it.”

It’s just $55 to book a vehicle per visit and pre-bookings must be made through www.deerparkheights.co.nz. Access is limited to the day booked and visitors can only enter once. An interactive online map will guide visitors to movie locations and areas of interest.

The park is 4km along Peninsula Road from the Kelvin Heights turn off in Queenstown and entry is signposted.

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