This week in Mountain Scene history


Looking back on 40 years of Mountain Scene

1973 A Christchurch shorthand typist becomes the 2000th person to walk the popular Routeburn track. Then-mayor Warren Cooper is on hand to congratulate Pat Blake. Cooper describes the track – then operating for just four years – as the “finest walk in the world”.

1981 The Arrow Irrigation Committee fights for the continuation of agricultural water in rural Wakatipu. The group hands submissions to then-Otago MP Warren Cooper to deliver to the Minister of Works during the lengthy battle, which saw the water scheme scrapped. The group feared that if the water ceased, farms would become uneconomic and market gardening would cease. 

1991 Two groups of Asian investors prepare to do battle in court over the sale of Queenstown’s “most-wanted” hotel at the time, the Quality Inn A-Line. A Taiwanese group had paid a $400,000 non-refundable deposit and an Indonesian group had separately parted with a $300,000 deposit for the multi-million dollar hotel. Both combatants lodged caveats in district land registries. 

1996 Hard-up hospitality workers are urged to stand up for their rights by joining a union. Local hospitality industry activist Martin Smith organises a meeting with a Service Workers Union officer to help low-paid staff ensure they get sound employment contracts and prevent instant dismissals. 

2005 Cramped airport space for private jets threatens Queenstown’s most affluent tourism sector as increasing numbers of rich and famous wing in on their personal planes. Capital Jet Services boss Peter Van Dyk warns if Queenstown Aiport doesn’t expand parking space for private jets then the resort stands to lose the lucrative wealthy visitor market.