Staff house a ‘huge relief’

Top spot: Wyatt Eck at Matakauri Lodge's staff house

A luxury Queenstown lodge has taken the staff housing crisis under its wing by renting a four-bedroom house.

Before coming to town seven months ago, Matakauri Lodge boss Emanuel Grosch says he’d discovered the shortage of affordable, quality staff accommodation would be his biggest headache.

“We want people to say, ‘I want to work for Matakauri’.”

He says a solution arose when he got the offer of a four-bedroom Fernhill home, eight minutes’ drive from the lodge.

Matakauri pays the rent and utilities then sub-lets it to staff.

Lodge boss: Emanuel Grosch

The result, Grosch says, is it allows those staff to enjoy living in the resort.

“Sometimes you can have people in Queenstown spending more than half their salaries on housing, and not even great housing, and they cannot even go out and have a beer in the evening.

“We also expect staff to go and explore the area ‘cos they need to talk to guests as well.”

Sales boss Tanya Dennis adds: “We’re expecting our staff to deliver an optimal level of service that the clients we have expect, and you can’t expect that from staff who are struggling to find housing.”

She says the house is also good for staff bonding.

“You just feel part of a family immediately – I think that’s something you can struggle with when you move to Queenstown.”

New food and beverage attendant Wyatt Eck, who’s from the United States, says the staff house has been a huge relief after he struggled to find anything before he moved here.

“I literally arrived and then the next day I was in the house and I could start my job without having to worry about it.”

He shared rides to work with co-workers before he got a vehicle.

Grosch tells staff it’s a privilege to live there and he expects them to be good neighbours.

Every fortnight, the house-keeping manager and her team go there to clean.

“It also gives us a good overview of the condition of the house.”