Sir Tipene clears the Hilton (with video)

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This house is clear. 

Queenstown’s swanky new Hilton Queenstown hotel isn’t just open for business, it’s free from what respected Maori leader Sir Tipene O’Regan calls malevolent forces. 

The Ngai Tahu kaumatua led a traditional clearing of negative influences from 178-room Hilton at Kawarau Falls on Monday. 

Newly-inducted staff at the Hilton and neighbouring 98-room Kawarau Hotel took in the ceremony ahead of today’s official opening. 

O’Regan says he’s impressed by the quality of the twin-hotel Kawarau Village complex. 

“And it’s got the quality of being sufficiently apart from the mad crowd but within a few moments’ travel.” 

A water taxi service – costing $5 each way – will run between Queenstown Bay’s Steamer Wharf and the Kawarau Village site from the afternoon till early evening. 

Hilton Queenstown general manager Marlene Poynder (above) welcomes the public and says both hotels are opening with 130 staff, climbing to 185 by this time next year. 

“Some people have said we weren’t wise opening at one of the softest times of the year but TRENZ is too big an opportunity to pass up – and it also gives us time to get the operation singing by the time winter is in full swing,” Poynder says.