Wanted: New trails champion

End of the trail: Outgoing Queenstown Trails Trust boss Mandy Kennedy is pictured with chairman Tony McQuilkin

Mandy Kennedy’s passion for running the Queenstown Trails Trust means she’ll be a hard act to follow, chairman Tony McQuilkin says.

“We want to thank Mandy for her tireless efforts and results, all done in great Mandy style.”

Kennedy’s been boss of the trust – overseeing 110km of walking/cycling trails in the Wakatipu – for the past three-and-a-half years, following six months as marketing director.

She’s resigned as she’s shifting next month to Canterbury, where her husband David, Ngai Tahu Tourism’s regional manager, has accepted a top job with Lincoln University.

Kennedy’s passion is summed up in the CEO job ad she penned.

The new CEO has to “genuinely enjoy the trail network – we don’t care if you ride, walk or roll on the trails, we are just interested in your passion for them”.

A highlight for Kennedy was preparing the masterplan, ‘Queenstown trails for the future 2015-2025’.

She says it helped that back in 2010 she’d written the tourism strategy for the trust’s successful funding bid to the government for $1.9 million.

The $5.4m trails network opened in 2012.

Trail projects during her watch have included the $350,000 upgrade of the popular Gibbston
River Trail, reinstatement of a slip-damaged part of the Kawarau River trail, which she calls “an engineering feat of magnificence”, and upgrading the trail round the top of Kelvin

The trust’s also diversified its revenue streams, which is why it bought the Motatapu off-
road event in 2013.

McQuilkin: “Mandy had to run it for the first year, and it almost killed her.”

Kennedy says the best part of her job is “when I can come to work with my bike and take my trail assistant with me – that’s my dog – and we go out and look at stuff”.

“You get to talk to people on the trails, and that’s hugely valuable.”

Applications for the CEO job close next Friday.