This week in Mountain Scene history


1976 Local insurance agent Jim Grant is Queenstown’s new mayor after seven years as a councillor and four as deputy-mayor. The late John Royds came well behind in second place and Jack Cook brought up the rear. 

The Queenstown Promotion Bureau – the first incarnation of Destination Queenstown – commissions a so-called resort “marketing plan”. The author is businessman, councillor and future mayor David Bradford. He warns developers to slow down – “The trouble is everybody is trying to develop faster than the pace [of visitor growth].” 

Wakatipu residents are reeling from a series of recent power blackouts, the latest ruining appliances of rural residents. Jeff Hylton’s washing machine, video, freezer, computer, heaters and microwaves all blew out, Neil Sutherland’s new TV and video burnt out and Bill Tapley’s washing machine needed replacing. Under increasing flak, Central Electric regional boss Dave Dolphin blames high winds bringing down trees, a contractor’s excavator digging up a cable – and a possum gnawing at a power line. 

An anonymous donation of $5000 establishes the Paddy Burton Memorial Park on Frankton Road. The Kelvin Heights mother of three was slain in 2001 by her insane son Mark, who was wrongly released by the then-Southland District Health Board.

2006 Queenstown 16-year-old Josh O’Connell has been banned from playing top school basketball in the United States. After a low-key start at Utah’s Ogden High, the New Zealand junior Tall Black then played a blinder, scoring 26 points against a senior side. A rival coach then questioned his eligibility and Josh was benched for the remaining five weeks of his 10-week student exchange trip.