Remembering the record flood


A lakeside ceremony will mark the 10th anniversary of Queenstown’s biggest natural disaster – the massive flood of November 1999.

The event takes place on November 20 at the Earnslaw Park flood sculpture, with ribbons on surrounding lampposts and trees indicating how high the water got to.

There’ll be a plaque rededication, speeches and a 10-minute audiovisual presentation at nearby Steamer Wharf, using TV, radio and newspaper coverage from the time.

The event will be compered by Winter Festival director Simon Green and journalist Steve Wilde, who pitched the idea to organisers Queenstown Lakes District Council.

QLDC spokeswoman Meaghan Miller says the ceremony is a chance for people to reminisce and recall those who stepped up to help those affected and also act as a reminder for people to prepare for civil disaster.

A group of 10-year-olds – born in the year of the record flood – will release balloons at the ceremony which starts at 5pm.

Miller says QLDC is also considering a future project to indicate peak 1999 levels in the CBD. Meanwhile, Miller is appealing for people to come forward with more flood photos and videos “to provide as full a record as possible”.