Bosses on merry-go-round

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The first boss of Queenst­own’s biggest backpackers decamps tomorrow to look after two other resort-based businesses. 

Matt Hirst, 39 (right) leaves Base Queenstown in Shotover Street, to run a lodge and a bar. 

He and former Base Backpackers boss Campbell Shepherd have the management rights to the 98-room former Stormcat Lodge at Arthurs Point. 

Bought off receivers by an Aussie investor last October, the renamed Shotover River Lodge will focus on visitors rather than workers accommodation and receive a full makeover by October 1, Hirst says. 

He and Shepherd have also bought The Thirsty Ram bar, near Base Queenstown. 

The 400-capacity bar – latterly run by landlord Ian Hamilton – will relaunch on June 1, Hirst says. 

Meanwhile, Base Queenstown’s new boss will be former rooms manager Nikki Money. 

“We’ve grown the business year upon year, so it’s been very successful,” Hirst says. 

Hirst opened the backpackers in 2004.