Former Canadian Jane Paterson says Queenstown’s been the making of her. She tells PHILIP CHANDLER, over a libation in a new wine bar she’s invested in, why she’s got involved in so many local businesses, and how she ended up here

Growing up in Canada, Jane Paterson spent most of her early years in the resort town of Banff.

But for the past decade, she’s been happily ensconced in another resort, Queenstown, where she’s become a serial investor, especially in the hospitality industry.

As to how she transitioned between the two, she says it came about when she met a Kiwi farmer, James Paterson, when he was holidaying in Banff.

He came back to the family farm in Wendonside, Southland, ‘‘and I came over for three months as a holiday experience, and that three months is now 32 years’’.

The pair married and raised two boys, and though they’re no longer together, Jane says they remain ‘‘very best friends’’.

Something that later influenced her business career came when no one backed the couple when they tried to buy an adjacent farm.

‘‘We came away a bit despondent so we let everyone go and we got a new bank, new insurance [adviser], new farm adviser, and what the [previous advisers] said we couldn’t do in 10 years, we did in five.’’

James’ family had always holidayed in Queenstown in Frankton’s Lake Ave.

He and Jane subsequently bought a central Queenstown holiday apartment which she settled in after suffering no fewer than five heart attacks one night, about 10 years ago.

‘‘I really came up to heal, because to me the mountains are healing.’’

James bought a farm around Queenstown’s Jack’s Point, and the couple moved here permanently after buying Cardrona’s Robrosa Station, the home of the annual Rhythm & Alps music festival.

Meanwhile, on their Southland farm they’d switched from sheep to bulls that served the dairy industry, however it’s now a dairy farm farmed in partner ship with their neighbours.

The hospitality industry entered the frame when Jimmy Nicholson, whom they knew when he worked at Jack’s Point’s clubhouse restaurant, asked them to partner with him in buying The Boat Shed Cafe & Bistro, by the Frankton marina.

‘‘We knew his ethos, his drive and his vision, so we said ‘we’re in’,’’ Jane says.

‘‘We had known what it was like for no one to believe in us, it was important to believe in these younger guys, and show them that.’’

Jane says Nicholson’s only mistake was when he asked them to be silent partners — ‘‘neither James nor I can be silent’’.

Subsequently, during Covid, Nicholson also enticed Jane and James to back him into buying Canyon Brewing, at Arthurs Point.

‘‘Canyon has gone from strength to strength,’’ Jane says, ‘‘and we now have the brewing house, which has doubled in size, at Robrosa
Station — it was the helicopter shed.’’

Meanwhile, Jane had also known the founders of local co-working space business Mountain Club, which has premises in both Frankton and the CBD.

‘‘I really admired them and their vision, and I always sort of teased them saying ‘I want to buy shares’.

‘‘And when they decided to relocate, they phoned and said ‘Do you want to buy all our shares?’ and I said, ‘Yes I do’.’’

As a result, she owns about half the business, and says she also has faith in the vision of her co-shareholders.

More recently, Jane’s also invested in travel planning app, Planit, which was hatched by Mountain Club clients.

Then, while having coffee at The Boat Shed, she was introduced to locals Eugene Kliushneu and Richard Meads, who had an idea for a wine bar.

‘‘Within 10 days I had in vested with them as well.’’

The result is Fino Wine Bar, which opened at the Frankton marina just last week.

Jane agrees she’s become a serial investor, ‘‘but the buck stops now’’, she says.

‘‘I’m comfortable with where I am, and I find I have a really good group of investments.’’

But, she stresses, ‘‘I’m not investing in all these businesses, I’m investing in the people in the business, and I am saying, ‘I believe in you’.’’

Aside from business, Jane, who’s 63, says she’s been involved with the Baskets of Blessing charity, which prepares and delivers meals to those less fortunate, and Impact100, which pools money from its female members to give out to charities each year.

‘‘I actually signed up for three years and they said, ‘wait, what, just one year’, and I said, ‘I just want to show I believe in you’.’’

Reflecting on what she’s done in town, Jane says: ‘‘I love Queenstown, I feel like I’ve come into my own since being here.’’

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