This week in Mountain Scene history


1975 Queenstown’s Ramada Inn, now Cop­thorne Lakefront, advertises a three-course dinner for $2.75 – “including seconds” (right).

1985 Skydiving comes to the Wakatipu – and it’s not the tandem variety either. Twenty-five locals pay $120 each for solo jumps after six hours of ground training by Christchurch jumpmasters. 

1995 In the same week as Air New Zealand introduces direct services from across the Tasman, Kiwi International Airlines owner Ewan Wilson signals cut-price Brisbane-Queens­town flights by the following winter. Wilson’s pledge is never fulfilled – Kiwi International goes broke soon after. 

2001 There are gripes galore about road gritting in the Wakatipu. Businessfolk and householders alike complain about grit being left on roads long after ice and snow have gone. “It’s a bit like living in a third-world country,” Stanley Street motelier Wayne Perkins says. Commerce Queens­town head Clive Geddes also reports complaints from retailers. However, council contractor Phil Dunstan of Lakes Contract Services responds by saying downtown Queens­town is regularly swept of grit, as are other places where there are build-ups. 

2005 Prime Minister Helen Clark comes clean about Queenstown healthcare: “I’ll make a big confession. When I was Minister of Health [late 1980s], I drew the boundaries for the area health boards. I made the decision to put Queens­town into the Southland District Health Board area.” Why? “Because SDHB wasn’t viable without Queens­town,” she says. SDHB has been under fire for 18 months – and to the present day – for short-
changing the Wakatipu on hospital and health services.