School fundraiser breaks new ground


A Queenstown school’s novel fundraiser is so good it’s child’s play.

A group of property market movers and shakers are going build a house and splash the profits on a playground for Shotover Primary School.

The school’s board, GJ Gardner, Placemakers, Hoamz, Shotover Country landowners Sharyn and Grant Stalker, and other tradies and suppliers are behind the scheme.

The house, on a 573-square-metre section in popular Shotover Country, should be finished in June. It will then be auctioned.

School principal Ben Witheford says: “We have big hopes for the amount of income which we can generate with such a high-profile initiative.

“The generosity of our partners means there’s potential for a really strong injection into the playground project, which is so vital to the school.”

The outdoor areas of the school fall outside central government funding grants, so the school board and the community have to reach into their pockets.

Through grants, stalls, and other fundraisers the board’s raised a quarter of the money needed for stage one of the playground project.

But with a total price tag of between $350,000 to $450,000, they faced an eternity of sausage sizzles.

Witheford says the school won’t have to stump up funds for the house project - everyone’s agreed to be paid when it sells.

Realtor firm Hoamz’ managing partner Fred Bramwell hit on the bright idea and approached the principal last year.

Once built, Hoamz will run a high-exposure marketing campaign.

Marketing manager Sue Charlesworth says: “It’s no secret that the housing market is running hot and there aren’t enough homes to satisfy Queenstown buyers.

“The time for a project of this nature is now.”

It is Queenstown’s runaway growth that has created the need for new subdivisions and new schools to go with them.

Shotover Country developer Sharyn Stalker was instrumental in persuading the Ministry of Education to build a new primary school there.

It opened last year with 88 kids in years 1 to 4.

The school roll will almost triple in size this year to 220 pupils, as it extends to year 8.

Shotover Primary has a maximum capacity of 450 - but it can be expanded to cope with a roll of 850.

Wanaka playground designer Trish Wrigley has drawn up a masterplan for the grounds based on feedback from parents, children and the board.

The board view the playground as a school facility and community asset, so locals will be invited to use the equipment and spaces outside school hours.