Fame for Gardens pioneer


A nineteenth century pioneer with major Queenstown connections was inducted into New Zealand’s Business Hall of Fame last week. 

German-born Bendix Hallenstein – who with his two brothers set up the country’s oldest menswear chain Hallensteins – co-opened the resort’s first flour mill, at Kawarau Falls. 

Hallenstein also started general stores in Queenstown and Arrowtown during the goldmining era. 

On the toss of a coin, his flour mill partner, James Robertson, became Queenstown’s first mayor and Hallenstein the next one – from 1869 till 1872. 

Only 34 when he became mayor, Hallenstein, who died in 1905, was largely responsible for the creation of the Queenstown Gardens. 

Before leaving for Dunedin in 1875, he was also a member of the Otago Provincial Council and a Member of Parliament for the Wakatipu. 

He had a grand home at Thurlby Domain, on Speargrass Flat Road. 

Hallenstein’s Hall of Fame laureate was accepted by his oldest living direct descendant, great-great-grandson Simon Stamers-Smith, who is a Queenstown lawyer. 

The Hall of Fame, based at the University of Auckland Business School, currently has 112 laureates – its judging panel chairman is Queenstowner Sir Eion Edgar, a laureate himself