This week in Mountain Scene history


1975 Queenstown’s inaugural Winter Festival is announced for the week of August 11. As well as mountain events such as “hotdogging” champs, snowmen competitions and the Coronet Cup ski race, organisers promise a range of downtown events featuring ski wear fashion shows, ski films, ice hockey and dances. “The festival is expected to attract people from all over the country,” Mountain Scene predicts. 

1985 After a bitter battle, the Government-owned Tourist Hotel Corporation gets planning permission for a $40 million hotel to be built partly on reserve land in Queenstown Gardens. As part of the deal, THC is to make an annual contribution towards the upkeep of the Gardens. The hotel – the true cost of which is later estimated at $100m – is subsequently privatised. 

1995 Business folk flay newly-released council plans for a mega-town centre on Frankton Airport land. Property portfolio manager Clive Geddes, Chamber of Commerce president Eric Lee and pharmacist Kim Wilkinson are among critics who fear a new Frankton shopping centre would “gut” retail outlets directed at locals in Queenstown’s CBD. 

2001 In the wake of Qantas New Zealand’s shock crash, Destination Queenstown chief David Kennedy floats the idea of joining forces with Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt, whose council is investigating launching its own airline. 

2005 Homegrown reality TV show Remarkable Vets premieres on TV2, after cameras track Arrowtown vet Geoff Woodhouse on 450 consultations with local pets and their owners. The 10-part series is the brainchild of Wakatipu-based Great Southern TV’s Phil Smith and is produced by Queenstowner Alf West. The series is also subsequently aired in Australia.