This week in Mountain Scene history


1975 Don Mundell, chairman of listed tourism company Trans Holdings, complains about Queenstown Borough Council rates. He says his Trans Hotel – now Rydges Lakeland Resort – pays about $80 per bed annually, while “the fellow with his house or bach pays approximately $30 per bed in rates”. 

1985 Despite the boom, three retailers abruptly close their doors this week. Chiltons Pharmacy goes broke, Number Seven Antiques calls it quits after two costly burglaries, and small but low-priced supermarket Keystores claims a 175 per cent rent increase makes trading uneconomic. 

1995 Queenstown’s top cop pans a council proposal for 1.30am closing of resort bars. Senior sergeant Peter Collins says such early closing would put Queenstown “out of step with the rest of New Zealand”, adding 2.30am or 3am would be “a lot easier to police”. Ironically, the early-closing plan has been vigorously pushed by the chair of the district liquor licensing agency, councillor Chris Blackford, who’s also a serving police officer. 

2001 New census figures show the fast-growing Wakatipu should have a new school within two years, Ministry of Education property boss Maurice Lock says. A new school is likely to be sited on up to three hectares in Frankton with a roll of 400-500 students, he predicts. In fact, Remarkables Primary doesn’t open until early 2010 and is capped at 436 pupils two years later – resulting in the exclusion of Lake Hayes Estate and Quail Rise kids. 

2005 Zillionaire Michael Hill reveals the $18 million jewel in his crown – his new golf course called The Hills. The jewellery king – now Sir Michael – unveils to Mountain Scene what he calls the Wakatipu’s “best-kept secret”. Course designer John Darby says The Hills is New Zealand’s first private golf course built to championship standard.