Queenstown realtor digs deep for school

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A major realtor is first out of the blocks with big money for a new Wakatipu High School Foundation.

Property company Colliers International has signed the first major partnership with the school foundation.

Colliers will put a cool $20,000 into the long-term endowment fund – plus a further $5000 a year into what’s to be known as the Colliers Leadership Award.

The Leadership Award will send Wakatipu High’s head boy and head girl off to Outward Bound each year.

The one-off $20,000 endowment comes from this year’s charity auction held during a yearly Colliers pow-wow in the resort for its top Kiwi brokers, bosses and clients.

Colliers Queenstown director Mark Simpson says his company is “extremely keen” to support Wakatipu High.

“Because it’s our only high school, it touches all levels of the community across the board.

“Through the work of the foundation, we want to help support the growth of our future business leaders,” Simpson says.

Wakatipu High principal Steve Hall reciprocates, saying the school’s “very grateful” for Colliers “getting funding for the foundation off to such an amazing start, demonstrating the kind of spirit and support from the community we hope others will follow”.

The Colliers sign-up will bring a buzz to the foundation’s official launch next Thursday, on October 31, at a business and community networking function from 5.30pm in the school’s new music and drama building.

The establishment of the foundation was announced in Mountain Scene early this month – its aim is to make Wakatipu High one of the best secondary schools in the country inside five years.

The foundation’s financial goal is to garner a $3 to $4-million-plus nest-egg with annual interest to help top up the school’s Government funding by about $300 per pupil per year.

As a decile 10 school with a so-called ‘rich’ community catchment, Wakatipu High ranks lowest for state funding.

Wakatipu High board chair Alistair Nicholson has said previously: “As a decile 10 school we have been underfunded for a very long time, which ties the hands of the board in being able to advance strategic issues.

“The establishment of this foundation goes a very long way to enabling us to move forward,” Nicholson said.