Top Queenstown businessman’s knighthood

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Prominent Queenstown businessman and former mayor John Davies has been knighted in the Queen’s Birthday honours list released today (Monday).

Davies – made a Knight Commander of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to business and tourism – is best-known as the major owner of skifield company NZSki which runs Queenstown’s Coronet Peak and The Remarkables skifields and Mount Hutt in Canterbury.

However he also has other major tourism interests including guided walk concession on the Milford and Routeburn Tracks, a substantial property portfolio and interests in the transport industry where he first got into business.

The Queenstown building he owns which houses SkyCity Casino is known as Stratton House after his middle name.

Davies’ main business vehicle is his family company Trojan Holdings in which daughter Jacqui and son Michael are co-directors.

Davies, 71, was mayor of the former Queenstown Borough Council from 1983-1986 and first mayor of the amalgamated Queenstown Lakes District Council from 1986-1989 and is proudest of persuading his fellow councillors to buy a freehold site in Queenstown which is now the Village Green.

Later he was also chairman of the Queenstown Airport Corporation.

Three years ago he was a prominent critic of Auckland International Airport taking a 24.99 per cent interest in the local airport.

In 1995 he was appointed a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order.

In 2010 he won a lifetime achievement gong at the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce business excellence awards.

Speaking at the awards, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said he found him more inspiring than the world’s top economic advisers.

Last year’s National Business Review Rich List estimated Davies was worth $90 million.

His wife Trish can now be addressed as Trish Lady Davies.

Meanwhile, Queenstowner Kaye Parker, chief executive of the Queenstown Trails Trust, has been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for services to tourism and children’s health.

Parker was formerly the inaugural chief executive of Cure Kids, which has raised millions for research into life-threatening children’s illnesses.

In her current role she oversaw millions of dollars of fundraising for the 100 kilometre-plus cycling/walking Queenstown Trail which was officially opened last October.

Last year she was awarded Mountain Scene’s ‘Queenstowner of the Year’.