"FILLING A LONG FELT NEED" was Mountain Scene’s first-ever headline on November 1, 1972.
Queenstowners had been starved of a local paper since the demise of the Lake Wakatip Mail in 1947.
The new free paper announced it intended to serve both visitors and locals, adding: "No longer will it be necessary to clutter up shop windows or rely on word of mouth to get your message across.
"So what was the news in Volume 1, Number 1?
The St John Ambulance Association was having to leave its rooms in the fire station building and fundraise for new premises.
At a chicken and champagne evening at Skyline, Sir Ron Scott – who was presented with a cheque for $926.26 to help organise the Christchurch Commonwealth Games – told Queenstown it might be able to host an international sports event by the mid-1980s. Mountain Scene’s first photo was of Japan’s cherry blossom queen beside the Queenstown Gardens lily pond, and the new Vacation Hotels chain took out the first advertisement for its Frankton Motor Hotel, O’Connell’s Hotel (then having a top floor built) and View Motel.
There were "best wishes" from then-mayor Warren Cooper – said to be "probably NZ’s youngest mayor" at the age of 39 – and Tourism Minister Bert Walker, who noted "there is no record of the number of visitors who came to Queenstown…during the year". (Total international visitors to NZ then ran to only 250,000 yearly).
Trans Hotel, now Rydges, had just reopened after four months repairing fire damage. Construction of the Moonlight Holiday Lodge had begun, a Wakatipu environmental group had been formed at a meeting sponsored by Rotary, and the Skyline restaurant had been extended – with mayor Cooper suggesting Skyline could end up with a hotel on Bob’s Peak advertisement
"The giant Ramada Inn" of 85 rooms, now the Copthorne, was a month off opening – as was Country Lodge, now Aspen on Queenstown, to be managed by "former well-known chemist" Ian Smith.
And Travelodge, later the Parkroyal and now the Crowne Plaza, was about to build a hotel against the hillside above what is now Steamer Wharf.
As Mountain Scene said: "Change is everywhere you look."
Queenstown’s youth hostel had just opened and Joseph Ferraro had converted Lewis’ fruit and confectionery business in the Mall into the Continental Restaurant – now Tatler – with a mural by Garrick Tremain.
"His restaurant is one of the few that use linen tablecloths and napkins," said Mountain Scene. (In the second edition of the new paper, Queenstown Borough Council was reported to be discussing Ferraro’s application to put three tables in the new mall for outside dining.)
As well as Vacation Hotels, other advertisers in the inaugural edition included John Edmond Ltd ("now is the time to cut your lawn"), Bill Lacheny Sports ("clothing and equipment for tramping and camping"), Remarkable Motors, Southern Lakes Auto Electrical, Tiki Corner, Lynch’s Store ("groceries at city prices, right in Queenstown") and DB Eichardt’s Tavern.
Wakatipu Pharmacy was advertised as "under new management" by Geoff and Christine Bradley.
Norman Lapsley was advertising his wallpapering service – he was also editor and "delivery agent" of this first edition of Mountain Scene. During the paper’s first month, Queenstown was visited by Labour leader Norman Kirk, who was successfully campaigning for government