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Honour: Queenstown businessman Barry Thomas

Mountain Scene founder Barry Thomas has been appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Thomas, 73, is honoured for services to business and tourism.

The chartered accountant, who established Scene in 1972, was appointed to the Skyline Enterprises board in 1975 and soon after, at the age of 32, became the chairman. He held the seat for 33 years until he “retired”.

He was also instrumental in setting up the Queenstown and Christchurch casinos – the latter the first casino licence to be issued in New Zealand –¬†as well as their charitable trusts. He held seats on the boards of Christchurch International Airport, Queenstown Airport Corporation and the New Zealand Rugby Union.

He’s also been involved with the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand and the New Zealand Tourism Board.

Speaking to Scene last week, Thomas said he was “a bit flattered” by the honour.

“I think it’s pleasing to see tourism get recognition because in the early times it was very difficult to get tourism understood, or recognised, as a major industry for New Zealand.”

On Scene, he says it was initially a fortnightly tourist publication, but when the board hired some strong editorial staff, including the late Frank Marvin, it turned into one of New Zealand’s most awarded independent newspapers.

Fellow Queenstown resident Ronald Frederick Nind, 81, has been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for services to the community.

An electrician by trade, he’s been involved in a wide range of groups in Otago and Southland over the years.

Honoured: Ronald Nind

He was treasurer of Invercargill East Lions Club for 13 years before moving to Queenstown in 2002. He then joined the Queenstown Lions, remaining a member until 2016, and for several years organised the club’s involvement in Meals on Wheels.

He’s also been a volunteer for Wakatipu Yacht Club, a welfare officer for Queenstown RSA, and a member of the Kelvin Peninsula Community Association.

And former long-serving Clutha-Southland MP Bill English, who of course went on to become Prime Minister, has been knighted for his three decades in office. Bill will now go by Sir William for formal occasions.

Officially, he was appointed Knight Companion of the Order of Merit.

Read more in this Thursday’s Mountain Scene.