This week in Mountain Scene history


1976 Queenstown’s Historical Society gets a tad hysterical about TV’s Hunter’s Gold, currently being filmed in the Wakatipu. The series will feature a locale labelled “Tucker’s Beach” and that’s historically wrong, the society says – there was no Mr Tucker. The correct name for the stretch on the Shotover River is “Tucker Beach” – where miners could only scratch out enough gold to buy a feed. 

1986 St John Queenstown fires a salvo at local motels and hotels. Two out of three local ambulance calls involve hotel or motel guests, it’s claimed – yet virtually no accommodation properties take out annual subscriptions to St John. 

1996 Queenstown’s Chamber of Commerce pots the council’s proposed district plan. Chamber president Graeme Hastie singles out for criticism a ban on new visitor accommodation, restrictive town centre business boundaries, and downtown parking clamps. 

2002 A staffing crisis hits the Wakatipu, with 300 jobs going begging in hospitality alone. “The situation is becoming critical,” Millbrook Resort boss Sue Askham warns. Hotel bosses are mucking in by making beds, serving breakfasts and carrying bags. Situations vacant ads in Mountain Scene are at an all-time high, with one edition carrying 130 ads. Perhaps predictably, employers deny low pay is to blame – there’s a worldwide shortage of hospitality staff, restaurateur Tony Robertson reckons.

2006 An Arrowtown dairy faces a residents’ boycott for selling party pills. The pills, legal purchase by anyone 18 or over, are sold at the Night ‘n’ Day in the main street. Resident Ian Todd says several locals are boycotting the store. Arrowtown Village Association chairman Richard Newman: “We don’t need that sort of thing here.” Store­owner Alan Garrick says he’s only had one complaint.