In March, as this town, and our country, went into lockdown and the reality and ramifications of Covid-19 on the Whakatipu started to hit home, Mountain Scene published a message on our front page, reminding us all our community was the most important thing.
This week’s Scene cover photo was designed as a celebration of that community, one that as the days, weeks and months have passed by, has come together, growing stronger with every hit we’ve taken.
In that photo you’ll find representatives from as many different sectors as we could muster.
You’ll see fifth-generation Queenstowner Lachlan Arnold, 3, Maggie Kay, 5, who started school in a year where education moved from classrooms to living rooms, Wakatipu High dux Om Alva, 18, in his school uniform for the very last time and Bupa resident Noelene Kennedy, 89.
Southern District Health Board staff, including Covid testers, Queenstown Lakes’ emergency management boss Dan Andrew, the Red Cross, health and fitness staff.
Migrant communities and the people who jumped in to help them, entrepreneurs and film industry reps.
Road workers, skifield staff, frontline charities, restaurants, cafes, the events industry, and bus drivers.
Elected representatives, community stalwarts.
Musicians, beauticians, travel agents and the churches.
Street sweepers, service station workers, dairy staff, adventure tourism representatives, tourism marketing professionals and emergency services.
Each and every one — and so many more just like them — affected by Covid-19’s impact.
In time, they’ll write about us in history books.
I hope when they do they acknowledge not just the colossal impact the global pandemic had on our livelihoods and our lives, but how it brought us together.
How it helped us to remember what was important.
The way we lifted each other up, encouraged each other, delivered hugs (when we were finally allowed to), managed to find humour along the way and celebrated those small, but important, wins.
How we grieved with so many members of our community, for whom 2020 brought devastation beyond their comprehension, and supported them the best we could, knowing sometimes there’s nothing you can say.
Queenstown, we are so very proud to be part of this community.
To all of you, from all of us, thank you for your support, encouragement and understanding as we, too, have had to navigate 2020, adjust, adapt and carry on.
We’re taking a little break for Christmas and will be back on the streets, ready to do it all again, on January 14.
We hope you all have a happy and relaxing Christmas and a safe new year.
Here’s to 2021 … and Queenstown’s resurgence.
— TRACEY ROXBURGH
Mountain Scene editor