Magnate has a trail top-up

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An Italian shipping and livestock magnate who owns property near Lake Hayes has granted $45,000 to the Wakatipu Trails Trust. 

Italian Mauro Balzarini made the offer when seeking Overseas Investment Office approval to buy a 4.5ha property near Lake Hayes for $975,000. The Lake Hayes spread is beside a 7.4ha block and house that he bought for $5.5 million last year. 

Balzarini’s family-owned international business, Wellard Group Holdings Pty Ltd, is Australia’s largest livestock exporter. 

“A little bit of my style is to interact with a community I like,” he tells Mountain Scene. 

“I like walking, running and biking, so I’m also investing in myself.” 

Balzarini is also a former professional motorcycle enduro rider. 

The Wakatipu Trails Trust is seeking about $3 million to develop the 99km Queenstown Trail, which will expand to Gibbston and Arrowtown. That’s on top of a $1.83m grant it received from the Government this month as part of its national cycle trail project. 

So far the trust’s raised about $350,000, its chief executive Kaye Parker says. 

Parker’s delighted with Balzarini’s donation. 

“He’s so community-minded, and wants to keep on helping. 

Stages of the trail are being built as extra money is raised, Parker says.