What: A devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes central Christchurch, wreaking havoc on the city and results in a death toll of 181 people. Fundraising nationwide starts in earnest.
When: February 22
Outcome: Wakatipu companies paying $500 a pop for a quarter-page ad in a special Mountain Scene quake fundraiser raise $23,500 to help with the stricken city. It’s among scores of fundraisers organised locally.
What: It’s revealed Wakatipu cancer sufferers are forced to make 400km round trips to Invercargill for regular chemotherapy treatment that is available at Clyde’s Dunstan Hospital, a mere 180km round trip. Wakatipu residents are ineligible for the service.
When: March 17
Outcome: After Mountain Scene tells the personal tales of cancer battlers Glenn ‘Scooter’ Reid, Alison Naylor, Claire Wilson and Nicki Smith, Southern District Health Board chief executive Brian Rousseau tells a Queenstown public meeting the situation is completely unacceptable and he vows to sort it out – which he does by May 19.
What: Mountain Scene-sponsored Thriller in the Chiller Winter Festival charity boxing night not only gives the thrill of a lifetime to 22 locals who take to the ring, it also aims to raise money for the Bruce Grant Youth Trust. The Trust dishes out cash to aspiring Wakatipu youth doing well in the cultural, academic or sporting world.
When: June 26
Outcome: The near sell-out event attracts 1300 fans to the Events Centre for an 11-fight card which finishes with an explosive Battle of the Basin bout between Arrowtown rugby stalwart Aidan Winter and Wakatipu rugby coach Kelvin Middleton. Middleton wins on points – and the night’s takings contribute to a $13,500 donation to the trust. The donation includes money chipped in from the Winter Festival Mardi Gras night.
Golf course lifeline
What: Long-running campaign to save Frankton golf course – which includes a 5000-strong petition – continues to be threatened by Queenstown Airport Corporation plans to reclaim its land that’s on a slice of the course, and Events Centre expansion.
When: Oct 25
Outcome: Queenstown councillors were supposed to approve a recommendation that council’s Lakes Leisure start planning a redevelopment of the course to expand the Events Centre – and the golf club be given a month-by-month lease. This would have spelt the end. It didn’t wash with most councillors who felt it was too soon. They moved to form a working party to come up with a preferred structure to operate the course for golf till the land is actually needed for other sport and recreation – and also help look for another site for the golf course, popular with the elderly and weekend hackers.
What: Commercial boatie Brent Ward fumes about a newly-locked gate blocking ambulances and other emergency vehicles from a large area of the Shotover Delta where the Shotover River joins the Kawarau River. It’s understood Queenstown Lakes District Council installed the gate to protect the area after completion of a joint $1.3 million flood mitigation project with Otago Regional Council. An alternative access route to the delta for emergency services is littered with deep potholes and requires the crossing of a 20-metre water-logged stretch of swamp.
When: December 15
Outcome: Mayor Vanessa van Uden first urges council staff to sort it out. “I don’t want to be sitting here wondering what might happen if there’s an emergency on the delta,” she says. Days later, Ward says Van Uden calls to assure him she’s told staff to open the gate in the meantime while a solution is found. Ward: “I thank her for stirring up her middle order – she was quite good actually. [But] nothing gets down till you get the media involved.”