Hammer down for school

Home sweet home: Peter Wilson with his wife Lisa, son Calder, 6, and their new Shotover Country pad

Talk about supporting your kid’s school.

Queenstown accountant Peter Wilson, whose son Calder goes to Shotover Primary, bought a four-bedroom house at auction last Saturday, putting the final seal on a school fundraiser.

Wilson bid $810,000 for the brand-new Shotover Country home, netting $275,000 towards a much-needed playground.

The unique fundraiser was a joint initiative by realtor Hoamz, home-builder GJ Gardner, supplier PlaceMakers, the subdivision’s developers and other companies and individuals.

“That [$275,000] is really because of local companies giving us substantial discounts or in some cases actually just donating their services and materials,” thrilled principal Ben Witheford says.

Coupled with a Central Lakes Trust grant and parents’ fundraising, the $400,000 target to build the playground has been exceeded, and surplus funds will go into other projects, Witheford confirms. “This was meant to be a four- to five-year project – in two years we’ve got the money we need.”

Wilson, who chairs the school’s board of trustees, says his purchase was good timing – “we’ve been looking at renting out our [Lake Hayes Estate] house and been looking around”.

As Hoamz auctioneer Brendan Quill began “calling” a final $805,000 bid, Wilson upped the ante by $5000.

“I went a little bit more than what in my heart I felt like I could, but I thought, ‘it’s only five [thousand dollars] more.”

He’s delighted with his new home.

“It’s better than what I ever thought it would be – they’ve done a really good job.”

His son will also be able to walk to school now.