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BNZ is to be part of the Taupo community.

We are open Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 4.30pm.

61 Tongariro Street, Taupo

0800 275 269

HE KUPU WHAKATAKI FOREWORD Kō Tongariro te Maunga Kō Taupō te Moana Kō Tūwharetoa te Iwi Tongariro is the Mountain Taupō is the Inland Sea Tūwharetoa are the people When the Te Arawa waka first landed in Aotearoa, so too began the association of Ngāti Tūwharetoa with the land. Early explorer Ngātoroirangi began his journey at Te Awa a Te Atua, then continued onward to Pūtauaki, Tauhara and eventually to Tongariro, laying the foundation for Ngāti Tūwharetoa, which we still encapsulate today with the words: Mai te Awa a te Atua, Ki Pūtauaki, Ki Tauhara, Ki Tongariro, Puta atu ki te Tonga Nga Pou Here o Ngāti Tūwharetoa whānui

From the River of the Gods, To Pūtauaki, To Tauhara, To Tongariro and beyond, Lay forth the Pillars of Ngāti Tūwharetoa It is with great pleasure that I write the foreword for the first edition of the G.O magazine. The abundant natural, cultural and spiritual taonga of the Central North Island are the foundation of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, our identity and wellbeing. These tāonga, including awe-inspiring mountains, fertile plains, freshwater or geothermal manifestations, and highly sacred sites, are revered and referred to in our oral traditions. We are them and they are us. In 2012, Ngāti Tūwharetoa hosted the Annual Conference of the Federation of Māori Authorities. We celebrated 25 years of commitment towards sustainable economic prosperity for our Tūwharetoa

economic authorities. We profiled the success of Miraka Limited, and our enterprising sheep, beef and dairy farms, our world-class sustainable forestry estate, and the various geothermal power developments that we have seen developed and grow within Ngāti Tūwharetoa. Our clear objective is a strong, durable and sustainable economic future, particularly for our mokopuna and the generations that are yet to come. This is our legacy to them. This magazine is also a celebration of the people and organisations committed to this future. On behalf of Ngāti Tūwharetoa I welcome you all to the district. Tēnā koutou katoa.


Paramount Chief – Ngāti Tūwharetoa

NGĀTI TŪWHARETOA The Ngāti Tūwharetoa people of the Lake Taupō area are descendants of early explorer Ngātoroirangi, who arrived on the Te Arawa canoe. Ngātoroirangi climbed Mount Tongariro only to face a blizzard of snow and ice. Seized by the bone chilling cold, Ngātoroirangi was in danger of perishing so he called to his sisters Kuiwai and Haungaroa in Hawaiki for assistance. His sisters heard his urgent plea and quickly filled six baskets with glowing embers, the offspring of Rūaumoko the God of volcanic energy. The sisters then dispatched the demigod siblings Te Hoata and Te Pupu to deliver the heat to Ngātoroirangi. Te Hoata and Te Pupu plunged deep into the earth and travelled swiftly toward Ngātoroirangi in Aotearoa / New Zealand. The pathway of Te Hoata and Te Pupu is in a direct line from White Island to Tongariro. This is evident at the many geothermal features that now exist. The embers of Rūaumoko and his energy are still active to this day and continue to provide for people. ISSUE#01 G R E A T O P P O R T U N I T I E S . C O . N Z





t is with great pleasure that we present the new G.O magazine for the Lake Taupō region. There's a lot to showcase in New Zealand's most beautiful and most energetic destination and this magazine will give you just a taste of what’s on offer. Enterprise Great Lake Taupō has developed the G.O magazine with three key goals in mind. Firstly to attract new businesses and residents to this productive and growing area; secondly to profile some of the outstanding local businesses and business people that make our region great; and lastly to boost civic pride by reminding us all why we choose to live, work and play in this piece of paradise. We hope that you enjoy our first edition, and I personally encourage you to seek out the perfect work-life balance in Great Lake Taupō! Warm regards


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SUE DE BIEVRE Chair, Enterprise Great Lake Taupō


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GREAT OPPORTUNITIES IS AN ANNUAL MAGAZINE PUBLISHED BY ENTERPRISE GREAT LAKE TAUPŌ Level 1, 32 Roberts St, Taupō, 3330 ISSN 2350-3033 (Print) ISSN 2350-3041 (Online) G.O Magazine Project Manager: Kylie Hawker-Green (PR Plus) Sub-Editor: Phil Campbell

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Contributors: Leola Abraham, Lianne Fraser, Kylie Hawker-Green, Lisa Laity, Libby O’Brien, Mike Watson, Dee Wilson Photographers: Jeremy Bright at Grabb, Sue Bunch (Taupō Photography), Abby Dance (The Photographer), Larissa Drysdale (Rissa Photography), Martin Lee Day Photography, Jessica Mohi (Jessica Lee Photography), Leola Abraham (Springs2Mind), Julia van Velden (Deja vu Photography) Design: Donnée Murray, Penny Egerton, Laura Miller (Good Graphic Design) Printing: MHP Group



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COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: Great Opportunities ISSN 2350-3033 (Print) and ISSN 2350-3041 (Online), is subject to copyright in its entirety. The contents may not be reproduced in any form, either in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher. All rights reserved in material accepted for publication, unless initially specified otherwise. All letters and other material forwarded to the magazine will be assumed intended for publication unless clearly labelled "NOT FOR PUBLICATION". Opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of Enterprise Great Lake Taupō. No responsibility is accepted for unsolicited material. Circulation: 20,000. (November 2013-October 2014). Publication date: November 7th 2013.



For advertising sales enquiries, contact For distribution enquiries, contact To view an online edition, visit



contact details Level 1, 32 Roberts Street Taupō 3330 Phone 07 376 7656 Email


Scan here to read an online version of our magazine.

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IN GOOD COMPANY WITH ENERGY SOLUTIONS Multi-national success with a friendly smile


RJ LEFT: Marcel and RJ on site.

Catbagan smiles a lot. He has a lot to be happy about. A new job as Supervisor of a Reservoir Services team that allows him to utilise his skills and expertise gained from working around the world in the geothermal and oil and gas industries. And, at the time this article was being prepared, his first baby was due any day. Of course, being separated by over 8000 kilometres from his wife at this time might be challenging for some, but RJ is passionate about creating a better life for his family. He plans to visit his wife and new child back in the Philippines soon and bring them to New Zealand to settle in Taupō. “I hopped off the plane direct from Manila in May this year, and it was only 4 degrees,” RJ says, “so it was straight into town to buy a warm jacket! Since then, I have come to love Taupō; it is a very friendly place with a clean and healthy lifestyle. I think my family will love it here and I’m hoping to be based in Taupō for many years.” RJ is one of many international staff employed at MB Century, a multi-national geothermal and energy solutions company with over 60 years


in Taupō. “Our international crew add an incredible dynamic to our operation,” Marcel Manders, MB Century CEO, explains. “With over 400 staff across our South-East Asia business units, we recognised early that we need highly skilled and suitable people. So we look far and wide to find the best, with RJ being just one example. Not only do our international team add their global perspectives and best practice experiences to our business, they also share their skills and knowledge with our Kiwi team which helps them to grow and develop. It’s definitely a win-win.” MB Century is known internationally and within Taupō as one of the biggest employers in the district, contributing more than $10m into the local economy annually. With core services including drilling for oil, gas and geothermal, reservoir management, steamfield design, and power station maintenance the business has diversified from the early days of drilling for the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station. “Continued diversification and investment in growth are definitely

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...our employees would say that we’re a pretty special place to work... WENDY DORRESTEIJN

BELOW CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: New $42m drilling rig on location in Taupo. Health and Safety compliance is an important component for MB Century. Steamfield design and construction pipeline.


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part of our success,” Marcel says. “Currently, we are actively expanding into offshore markets where our ability to deliver has seen us secure significant contracts against global competition. We’re winning these contracts as our business is now flexible enough to mould into new environments without detracting from our core service offering.” A recent demonstration of this commitment to growth is the purchase of a $42m drilling rig. The new hydraulic hoist rig, constructed in Italy, is quieter, safer, smaller and more mobile than existing rigs in the company's extensive suite of drilling equipment. This innovative rig was commissioned in New Zealand in November 2012, and has a sustained drilling operation that continues the expansion of geothermal development near Taupō. Coupled with this focus on growth and innovation is a company-wide

philosophy that transcends all levels of the organisation. “I expect my team to buy into a culture of ownership that means there are no excuses,” Marcel says. “We don’t just have words on posters, we have attitude and that means I have to walk the talk as well.” One of MB Century’s longest serving employees and HR Manager, Wendy Dorresteijn, supports Marcel’s assertion about creating and maintaining a culture of personal ownership organisation wide. “There’s a lot of rhetoric around these days about creating a positive workplace, and I think with our honest and back to basics approach, our employees would say that we’re a pretty special place to work,” Wendy says. “Employee learning and competence development is a key focus for MB Century and many employees have made the most of the employee development programmes



The scholarship programme is just one way we support the local community... MARCEL MANDERS

which has seen them secure diplomas, certificates and degrees in their chosen fields of expertise.” Recently more than 60 of the Taupō based rig crew completed a National Certificate in Drilling (nonhydrocarbon). For many, it was the first qualification they had received since leaving school. “I’m very proud of this company as a whole,” Marcel says. “My team create our growth. They are the ones doing the hard yards to achieve our success. I set the bar, and it’s set pretty high, but we help our team get there. I encourage everyone at MB Century to grab every opportunity and make the most of it.” MB Century’s commitment to furthering education extends beyond their workforce, with three $3000 scholarships offered annually to local college school leavers. “The scholarship programme is just one way we support the local community here in Taupō, but it’s one that I’m really keen on,” Marcel says. “We’re looking for attitude, aptitude and application, and I’m often surprised by the passion and potential of our local young people. Hopefully, one day some of them might return to Taupō and maybe take a role at MB Century.”



ABOVE: MB Century reservoir logging work in operation. Innovation from Research and Development.

I joined the Navy straight from school and spent 13 years working primarily as an engineering officer in NZ and offshore, completing a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours) and a Management degree. After an eight month stint on a peace keeping mission in Angola, I returned to NZ restless for change, so started down the energy career path with Contact Energy at a number of the hydro, thermal and geothermal stations. After a few years, I switched to Siemens Energy Services working in the gas sector which furthered my understanding of the dynamic energy sector. Seeking a change, I jointly owned a plastics manufacturing company for many years, before moving to Taupō five years ago to start with MB Century. I also hold a Directorship of several MB Century international companies. Taupō is a great place to raise a family, with my wife and our two sons thriving in this lifestyle. Our boys are achieving well at Waipahihi School and as a family we make the most of the outdoors and spend our weekends out on the lake or on mountain bikes enjoying the local trails. Taupō has so much to offer in the way of lifestyle, affordability and opportunity – and I think we’ll be here for many years to come.

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RAFTING IN THEIR BLOODSTREAM 20 years of thrill-seeking still isn't enough... STORY LISA LAITY


assion. Businesses talk about it all the time. It’s a buzzword bandied about a lot these days. The trick is to find someone who oozes passion for what they do, in the area in which they work. Cue Luke Boddington. Luke and his wife, Pianika, own Rafting New Zealand, which operates from its Turangi base close to the heart of the action-packed Tongariro River. The business is immersed in family history, having been established in the early 1990s by Pianika’s father and partner. In 2008 the concern was sold to Luke and Pianika in partnership with Luke’s parents.


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Over the years the business has blossomed from humble beginnings as a single raft, trailer and family shed operation. In 2009 the couple shifted the company’s southern end of the lake base from Tokaanu to Turangi. But the greatest transformation came last year, when Luke and Pianika opened up Whitewater World base in Taupō. Whitewater World, a world first 4D rafting simulator experience will whet the appetite of anyone considering giving rafting a go yet restrained by a few niggling reservations. The idea was born as the couple looked at ways to overcome seasonal limitations within the region. Initially,

aiming to convert 10 per cent of cinemagoers into real life rafters, they sold themselves short. Opening on December 29, 2012, Luke says early figures are already showing a conversion rate closer to 30-40 per cent. Seasonal implications aside, Luke is quick to point out that while Great Lake Taupō is plentiful in its attractions and offerings, it can only ever be as good as the people behind it, something he believes, there’s that word again, passionately about. “The region has got it all, Turangi to more of an extent,” Luke says. “It’s all sitting here waiting to happen but it all comes down to operators really stepping up and agreeing that mediocrity is not acceptable. Everyone that comes here needs to have a positive experience”. Business culture and the right team are paramount to the couple. They expect the best from their staff, whether dealing with customers at either base, on the water or over the phone. “We’ve got fantastic facilities, but at the end of the day it comes down to people. Our staff are everything. They (staff) know how much it means to the company to be at their best and not let the side down; we’re in this together,” Luke says. The couple continues to explore new avenues

within their business, push boundaries and uphold only the best in terms of customer service, for which they recently received an award at this year’s BNZ Great Lake Taupō Business Awards. “We always have to come back to what we are. We are Rafting New Zealand, but we want to create a product that anyone can do and enjoy,” he says. Heading into the traditionally quiet time for the region, it will be interesting to see how Whitewater World handles Taupō’s lull period, but this couple won’t be marking time. “There is a lot more to achieve in this business and in this area yet,” Luke says. Rafting New Zealand offers a range of guided raft and kayak trips down the Tongariro, Mohaka, Wairoa and Kaituna Rivers.

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: Double your buzz: Take a look at the combo options!

ABOVE: Proudly serving Ozone coffee – just what you need after a heart-pounding 4D experience! TOP & BELOW: Nothing beats the real thing – and you couldn't be in better hands.


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milking IT... Dynamic Māori owned dairy company strides ahead STORY DEE WILSON


small, dynamic milk powder processing operation at Mokai, west of Taupō, formed by a unique alliance of Māori trusts and incorporations is proving a force to be reckoned with. Miraka – Māori for milk – is the result of a vision shared by a group of Māori trusts and incorporations with land and dairy holdings in the central plateau looking to add value to their farming enterprises beyond the farm gate. Since starting milk powder manufacturing three years ago, Miraka has gone from strength to strength, meeting and surpassing all of its targets and expanding its export base around Asia. The company’s state-of-the-art $90 million dollar milk powder factory (WMP) on nine hectares of land at Mokai has been operating at capacity for the past two seasons producing 35,000 tonnes of milk powder for overseas markets with committed overseas orders for all of its product. A supply contract signed with Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin in February 2013 to produce 250ml Ultra Heat Treatment (UHT) milk packs for the Chinese market has also seen expansion plans brought forward.


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The new $25 million UHT facility on the Mokai site adjacent to the milk powder factory is due to swing into production in February 2014 – marking the company’s first foray into the production of retail long life milk products. The new factory has been fully funded by Miraka shareholders. “We have established our core business on whole milk powder and are now looking to add more value to the milk we collect,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Wyeth says. While commercial success and production of a top quality product for the world market are a given, the commitment to whanau (family) and environmental values have also won Miraka accolades. The two major shareholders in the venture are the Tuaropaki Trust, which owns the land where the plant is sited, and Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, which runs around 10,000 dairy cows on land at Pouakani near Mangakino. Other shareholder suppliers include Waipapa 9 Trust, Hauhungaroa Partnership, Tauhara Moana Trust and Huiarau Farms. Strategic partners and investors include Te Tumu Paeroa,Te Awahohonu Forest Trust Limited, Global Dairy Network and leading Vietnamese milk and dairy manufacturing company

....combining forces to process our own milk will give us better long term returns... KINGI SMILER

Vinamilk. Miraka runs a tight ship. A team of four executives – headed by Richard Wyeth – and three administrative staff work out of offices in Taupō. At the Mokai site, commissioning of the new UHT facility will see the number of factory staff increase from around 28 to 71 – working around the clock. As a small enterprise in a competitive market, a key strength for Miraka has been its ability to secure a solid base of milk suppliers. Since start-up the number of suppliers has almost doubled taking the total number to 95 – attracted by guaranteed competitive returns and the fact they are not required to take up shares in the company. The company has also taken over management of its port warehouse facility in Tauranga, where it employs three staff. While Miraka has forged ahead commercially, it remains committed to the core values that are a cornerstone of operations.



5 MINUTES WITH RICHARD MIRAKA CEO What brought you to Miraka? I was working as a global sales and marketing manager for another dairy company based in Auckland when I was told about a new dairy company that was being established in the Taupō area. The opportunity to be part of a greenfield start up business was too good to turn down.

In the early days of development, Miraka went to its shareholders rather than a commercial agency to develop a brand and logo. Chief Executive Richard Wyeth says the branding that evolved “Miraka – Nurturing Our World” truly reflects the aspirations of everyone, from board members and shareholders to suppliers and staff members. That includes a commitment to whanau (family) and environmental values, sustainable business practice and production of a top quality product for the world market.

What are the advantages of living in the Taupō region? Taupō is a good place to do business and a great place to raise a family. Getting to and from work is never a problem as there are no traffic hold-ups. The job involves a lot of travel around the country and overseas and the airport is close to town. The airport staff know I fly regularly and go that extra mile to let me know if flights have been delayed or cancelled. You wouldn’t get that in the city.


Does Taupō offer any business advantages? The region's geothermal fields make it a great place to run a high energy business such as our milk processing plant. Taupō's central location is a bonus and there are more and more young professionals coming to the area because of the lifestyle. Miraka also has a lot of international clients and when they come to Taupō we are able to combine business with pleasure. Giving them the opportunity to be welcomed onto our local marae, take a break and catch a trout or enjoy a round of golf on a world class course makes the Taupō-Miraka experience a memorable one. ABOVE: The final product. Kingi Smiler, Chairman. The Miraka whanau at the marae. Tankers at the Miraka factory. LEFT: Richard with his wife Sarah. ISSUE#01 G R E A T O P P O R T U N I T I E S . C O . N Z


TOP: Chris and Kathy take a moment to relax and enjoy a well-deserved caffeine boost. BELOW LEFT: The walls are lined with a collection of 'Whites Aviation' hand-coloured photos.



Family-owned cafē thriving after 20 years



n the fiercely competitive world of hospitality, one Taupō café has proved it has staying power and as such has earned its place as a bona fide local institution. On the sunny side of Heu Heu Street sits Replete Café and Store. While its name may have changed ever so slightly since its debut in 1993, many elements of this business have endured in its 20-year history. Replete means full, content, completely satisfied, the opposite of deplete and it fits perfectly with the owner operator duo Chris and Kathy Johnston’s philosophy to provide great customer service and cabinets brimming with simple, tasty food. Since the early days when only Chris and his sister Sarah took home weekly pay cheques around the $50 mark, things have come a long way. In a continual phase of evolution, the business has undertaken some notable additions over the years.

Former cooking schools proved a huge success, drawing both national and internationally acclaimed chefs including Peta Mathias, Annabel Langbein, Ray McVinnie, Alison Gofton, Ruth Pretty and Annabel White among others. Today, the café’s adjacent kitchenware store is another clear example of the couple’s decision to diversify and move with the times. Kathy says the two complement each other well and the stock she carries she would proudly display in her own home. You would think with a history spanning some 20 years that Replete Café and Store would be a local favourite and while that can be true for some, Chris and Kathy say a large percentage of their clientele are visitors to the region who will call in regularly when passing through. At the heart of what they do the couple say they are providing a



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consistently positive experience. “We need to offer the same thing every time people come in. Great service, simple, tasty food and an overall good time,” Chris says. Like others, the Johnstons have weathered the economic recession and proved that even 20 years experience does not guarantee immunity. Tough times saw necessary consolidation, and signalled Kathy's return to full time work within the business. Brutally honest, Chris says, “It was just about getting by”. In 2013, Replete Café and Store maintains its strong sense of family. Eldest son, Olly, is the brains behind the Replete Café and Store website, while younger son, Tom, regularly operates the coffee machine. It is undoubtedly hard work, long days on your feet, roll-your-sleeves-up kind of graft, so I’m intrigued, what keeps them going, particularly on weekends like that of Cycle Challenge when they can churn out in excess of 1000 coffees. “It’s bloody hard work, but it’s also incredibly rewarding,” Chris says. “If we can offer all our customers a positive experience and at the end of the day the staff are still smiling, then that’s awesome.”

Giving back to the local community is important to the couple that employs around 40 staff between their business ventures. Closer to home they have had their turn at coaching and supporting the kids school sports team. Chris has served on the Taupō District Council and Kathy has been heavily involved in the Taupō arts community. How they find the time is beyond me, but one thing is blindingly obvious: they show no signs of slowing down any time soon. It would appear Replete Café and Store is just warming up for another 20 years.

It's bloody hard work but it's also incredibly rewarding... CHRIS JOHNSTON





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ave you got a great idea under wraps? A new product that is destined to be the next big thing? But need some help to get you started on the pathway to success? If so, Enterprise Great Lake Taupō want to see you at their monthly ‘Next Great Idea’ breakfast meeting. “We’ve worked with some great local entrepreneurs over the past two years as part of our ‘Shed to Stock Exchange’ programme,” Anne Battersby from Enterprise Great Lake Taupō says. “One of the many things we’ve learnt working with these startup businesses is that support in the early stages is critical, and building a support network of likeminded people who are going through the same issues and experiences is valuable.”


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However, the ‘Next Great Idea’ isn’t just about chatting over a coffee and croissant. “A major issue with getting a business idea off the paper and into reality is lack of funding,” Anne explains. “We now have access to multi-million dollar support through the Angel Investor network which is an incredible boost for our local start-ups. But before the Angel Investors will consider looking at a business idea or concept, it must first be rigorously pre-tested, have proven scalability and be market ready. So the ‘Next Great Idea’ is our platform for doing just that.” Participants at the ‘Next Great Idea’ are granted access to Enterprise Angels and the Plenty of Innovation programme that supports start-ups to

get ready to pitch for investment. “We’ve had a few local entrepreneurs participate in the Plenty of Innovation programme,” Anne says, “and we have one local entrepreneur who will be showcasing their business to the Angel Investors soon which is really exciting.” “It’s a bit like Dragon’s Den, but with much friendlier dragons,” Anne laughs. “Succeeding in business is challenging, you have to take risks and be brave. We’re hoping the ‘Next Great Idea’ provides the support network needed for our Taupō entrepreneurs to take their ideas from their shed, to the NZ Stock Exchange!”


ABOVE: GNS Science Geothermal Scientists.



he rise of geothermal energy is of no surprise. It works non-stop and without weather restrictions, has low greenhouse emissions, is renewable, and geothermal plants can co-exist with other land uses. With worldwide energy demand escalating, and climate change and environmental responsibility to the fore of decision maker’s thoughts; there are strong reasons to make use of geothermal energy resources. All of the electricity generated in the Taupō region comes from clean, renewable resources. Our region generates 75 times more clean energy than it consumes – a fact which few, if


any, other regions in the world could claim. Andy Blair from GNS says, “benefits and savings are achievable through direct use of geothermal resources. There is a huge opportunity for companies that use a lot of energy for heating or cooling as part of their operations to take advantage of the cost efficiencies of geothermal energy and the ‘clean green’ branding for economic growth.” GNS Science’s Geothermal Team is a world leader in geoscience, providing expert assistance for successful geothermal projects in over 35 countries worldwide. Their purpose

Enjoy a lifestyle outside the concrete jungle and grow your global competitiveness. ANDY BLAIR

is to discover, understand and share geothermal system knowledge for the benefit of New Zealand. “Enjoy a lifestyle outside the concrete jungle and grow your global competitiveness. Bring your business to Taupō, tap into geothermal energy and be confident knowing world leading expertise is within reach!” Andy says. For geothermal direct use ideas check out the case studies on our website: Home/Learning/Science-Topics/ Earth-Energy/Case-Studies FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: ISSUE#01 G R E A T O P P O R T U N I T I E S . C O . N Z


Up to the


A winning blend of heritage and elegance



TOP TO BOTTOM: From sunrise to sunset, the spacious amenities are equalled only by the expansive views from the Cellar Cocktail Bar, the Presidential Suite and the awardwinning Bistro Lago restaurant.


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hen you think Hilton you’d be forgiven if the word history did not instantly spring to mind. Perhaps you’re filled with such ideas as indulgent, plush, luxurious and so forth. But one Hilton hotel is steeped in history. And it’s sitting right here on our doorstep – the Hilton Lake Taupō. Sitting pretty beneath the sleepy silhouette of Mount Tauhara, the Hilton Lake Taupō puts to rest those all too common fears about mixing old with the new. If ever a building could showcase the seamless transition of centuries converging this classically charming yet contemporary property is a prime example. As Taupō’s only 5-star hotel, the Hilton Lake Taupō is an attraction in its own right and is brimming with local history. The former Terraces Hotel, known today as the Hilton Lake Taupō Heritage Wing, was built in 1889. In those days it was a popular spot for early pioneers of international travel. Anglers from England and Scotland came in search of that ‘big catch’. Locals and visitors would flock to soak in the two large (thermally heated) bathing pools around the Serpentine Lake and Black Terraces, after which the original hotel was named. The former Terraces Hotel has had a chameleon existence of sorts over the years. It doubled as the Taupō Post Office and was a regular stopover for McCauley and Crowther coaches.


YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT HILTON LAKE TAUPO 1 STEEPED IN HISTORY – The historical photos dotted throughout the hotel are the oldest preserved images of the Taupō region. 2 TOP HONOURS – In 2012 Hilton

Lake Taupō assistant manager, Lisa Sherriff, received international recognition from Hilton Worldwide CEO Chris Nasetta for her exceptional hospitality skills and initiatives. 3 AWARD WINNER – The hotel has

received 16 international recognitions for its service and facilities since opening in November 2009. 4 SKI BUNNIES – The hotel provides a ski and snowboard drying room and storage facility. 5 FANCY A SPIN? The hotel provides mountain bikes for hire.

BELOW LEFT: When it's time to relax, the options are all 5 star. BELOW RIGHT: The new Hotel keeps some of its old-world charm.

It was also the point where a number of iconic Taupō landmarks were measured from, including Two Mile Bay and Five Mile Bay. Dominion Breweries acquired the hotel in 1964 and built a new pool complex before changing the name to De Bretts. DB then sold in the late 1980s. The building aged over the years, necessitating a vast interior décor ‘facelift.’ Perhaps the most significant phase was its takeover by the internationally renowned Hilton brand. In 2009 the luxury 5-Star apartment wing, which adjoins the historic hotel was officially opened. Retaining the integrity and charm of the original Victorian hotel while adding the contemporary and effortlessly beautiful apartment wing was no

It doubled as the Taupo Post Office and was a regular stopover for McCauley and Crowther coaches.

mean feat, but the two came together despite those twin fears. The injection of international brand Hilton has pushed this property into a new era. It offers space, indulgence, comfort and all the added extras expected of a big name brand including tennis court, spa and sauna, fully equipped gym, swimming pool and award winning restaurant and bar. It’s also become an increasingly popular choice for those planning their ‘I do’s. With a beautifully manicured and private garden, a classically stunning ballroom and the expertise available to help event planning. It only seems natural that a business steeped in local history continues to act as a front runner in community involvement and support.

Today the Hilton Lake Taupō supports a number of local charities and other events in the region, including the Taupo SPCA, BNZ Great Lake Taupō Business Awards, Ironman New Zealand and the Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge among others. The historic Terraces Hotel is majestic in its beauty and dignified in its position. Now sitting under the name Hilton, it is warming to see this iconic Taupō landmark enter a new era.


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TAUPO FIRM IN GLOBAL DAIRY SUCCESS Strong relationships account for business achievement



hat do a dairy company, a geothermal power station and an SUV manufacturer all based in Taupō have in common? They’ve called on the services of a Taupō accountancy firm that is helping them to reap some seriously impressive rewards. The dairy company, Miraka, was formed from the shared vision of a group of six Māori trusts and incorporations with experience in dairy farming operations. After its inception, Miraka was joined by Vietnamese milk and dairy manufacturer Vinamilk, and Global Dairy Network, which brought experience in international dairy sales


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and marketing. Miraka engaged Taupō’s specialist accountancy firm Beker Findlay Allan (BFA) from the outset to assist with business set up and creation. Agribusiness partner Michael Allan led a team with a wealth of knowledge in the farming sector and says the Miraka project was a textbook example of a business vision being brought to fruition. “In the early stages BFA acted as the CEO and accountants to Miraka,” Michael says. “We did this until we got to a situation where we had ticked off the feasibility studies, knew we had the

resource consent, had the equity and debt financing and had committed milk supply of a level to have a viable and sustainable business operation.” While Miraka is now a blossoming player within the dairy industry after only two years on the scene, work to grow the company hasn’t halted. Current CEO Richard Wyeth and his team are now adding a UHT facility to the plant and product will soon be exported to China. After being a part of the project from kick-off to completion, Michael says his involvement with the extended Miraka whanau was very special. “BFA were the fortunate party that got to assist the directors and shareholders in implementing a vision

LEFT: The BFA team take time-out at Café Pinot. BELOW: Many of Taupo's core industries can thank BFA for their part in successful operations.

It’s a real privilege to know you’ve played a part in successes that are not only great for the companies, but also for the entire Taupo region. TOM FINDLAY

and helping set up a business which continues to grow,” he says. “My involvement with Miraka and their stakeholders is a standout highlight of my career.” BFA are still involved with the company, with Michael, an active member of Miraka’s Audit and Risk and Remuneration committees. With sustainable energy becoming another jewel in the Taupō region’s crown, BFA have remained extensively involved in the construction of many of the area’s geothermal power projects. BFA’s sustainable energy specialist, Tom Findlay, has recently acted as financial advisor to Ormat Pacific Incorporated, which has been instrumental in constructing Mighty River Power’s Ngatamariki power project near Taupō. The latest in a string of major plant developments in the area, the Ngatamariki project had a budget of nearly half a billion dollars and was completed in July, 2013, under the total cost forecast. As well as being able to supply 80,000 households with power, the project has had farreaching economic benefits for the Taupō region. But it’s not all about milk processing plants and power stations. BFA

has also played a significant part in bringing the New Zealand distribution centre for Korea’s premium SUV manufacturer to Taupō. After SsangYong New Zealand enlisted BFA as financial advisor to the company the decision was made to move the New Zealand distribution hub to Taupō. Since the move in March 2011, SsangYong’s constantly recording record sales and experienced a 58% increase in New Zealand sales between 2011 and 2012. To top this off, SsangYong New Zealand is now one of the best performing SsangYong franchises in the world. The association with SsangYong has developed BFA’s understanding about the logistics and intricacies of distribution and importation along with exposure to the currency markets and their impact on business. “BFA is proud to be a part of projects such as these,” Tom says. “It’s a real privilege to know you’ve played a part in successes that are not only great for the companies, but also for the entire Taupō region.”


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Anything where you need industrial heat at around 250 degrees Celsius or lower could be a potential user of geothermal energy.

LIGHTING UP YOUR LIFE Diversifying geothermal energy STORY MIKE WATSON


CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Some of the Contact Wairakei team conduct an HSE inspection of the Wairakei Steamfield. Mike Dunstall is passionate about the potential of Geothermal energy. Part of the Wairakei Steamfield.


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eothermal generation at Wairakei has been providing electricity to the national grid for just over half a century. By the end of this year Contact Energy’s geothermal steam fields, which dot the landscape north of Taupō, will be pushing out 375 megawatts of energy – enough to light up every house in a city the size of Wellington. A reliable, sustainable and clean energy resource such as geothermal steam can provide an alternative to using fossil fuels. Changes on how to best use this valuable renewable energy source – apart from generating electricity – are quietly happening in Taupō. At the forefront is Tokoroa-bred Mike Dunstall Contact Energy’s General Manager Geothermal Resources and Development. Mike is one of those practical Kiwis who likes nothing better than roaring around on a trail bike, or water ski’s, in the weekends. During the week however, Mike, who wrote his thesis on geothermal energy for his PhD in mechanical engineering,


leads a small team assigned to find more ways of using geothermal energy for direct industrial use. “Direct industrial, or energy, use appeals to me because you have a greater range of creative opportunities on where the resource can be used, apart from generating power,” Mike says. “Geothermal energy is a reliable source, which is delivered at a constant rate, and relatively economical to run. “It also has a low environmental impact and is not weather dependant.” Contact Energy generates electricity from geothermal power stations at Wairakei, Ohaaki, Te Huka (Tauhara) and Poihipi Road, while a fifth station, at Te Mihi, will soon be commissioned. Geothermal steam and hot water is already being applied in direct industrial use to dry timber at the Tenon wood processing plant and Ohaaki thermal kilns, as well as tourism ventures such as the Wairakei Terraces and Huka Prawn Farm. To dry the timber at the Tenon plant, Contact built an award winning 27MW heat plant to replace natural



MIKE DUNSTALL GM GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES What do you like most about living and working in Taupō? You can’t beat the lake… and there are some magnificent dirt bike tracks on our doorstep. What do you do in your spare time? I’m into dirt bikes, and my son is a very keen rider, so I get on my bike when I get the chance for some trail riding. I also like water skiing, especially speed skiing. gas which had been used to heat the kilns. The result was a reduction of 27,900 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the first year of operating. In another example silica terraces – reminiscent of the famous Pink and White Terraces at Tarawera – were created at the Wairakei Terraces tourism venture by piping geothermal fluid from the nearby steam field to a geyser from where it flowed over the terraces. Geothermal direct use has also been applied at the Huka Prawn Park which uses geothermal heat to keep ponds, where the prawns grow, at a constant temperature. The system enabled the prawn farm venture to produce 37 tonnes of the edible crustaceans annually. These type of alternative uses of the geothermal energy become possible because Wairakei and surrounding power stations are the main users of the resource, Mike says. “It’s pretty expensive to develop stand-alone medium scale ventures unless you are alongside a large scale site such as Wairakei. The power

station gives you the economy of scale you need and has a pool of expert staff you can make use of.” “You need a critical mass to make it work – and Taupō has that. There’s no point having geothermal energy to dry your wood if you only use it three months of the year. “Anything where you need industrial heat at around 250 degrees Celsius or lower could be a potential user of geothermal energy. “We are keen to get more direct energy users on board, preferably alongside existing operators. “The expertise we have in the workforce at Wairakei for the generation of electricity can be utilised to support direct energy development.” The on-going development is exciting for the Taupō region with the potential to provide work and opportunities to grow the district, he says.

Who do you support – All Blacks, Black Caps, All Whites, or Breakers? Definitely the All Blacks… I didn’t watch much basketball until the Tall Blacks made the World Championships – that was phenomenal… I became a rabid fan for six weeks as basketball came of age under Tab Baldwin’s inspiration. If you were hosting a dinner party, who would you invite? Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, speed race boat driver Donald Campbell, Nelson Mandela, and Tab Baldwin. What are your favourite movies, and music? Favourite movie is, “The World’s Fastest Indian”, and I like listening to rock music. Do you drink Tui, or Pinot Noir?


A cold Tui. Has to be cold.

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Engineers | Surveyors | Planners

With over 70 years’ history in the TaupĹ? Region and beyond, the Cheal team of professional Engineers, Surveyors and Planners have developed a reputation for Innovation and Excellence. Land Development | Infrastructure Maori Asset Development |Geothermal and Energy



n this day and age it almost seems inconceivable that urban households would be unable to get access to a broadband connection. But when some Taupō residents were forced to connect to the web with an archaic dial-up connection or go without, they felt like they were in the dark ages. Fortunately, a local organisation has come to provide an internet solution for residents across Taupō who are unable to get broadband connections in their homes. The Taupō-based Tuaropaki Trust had been using its own T>Stream broadband connection for several years in its Taupō offices and has also supplied a small number of private homes with the service. "After reading stories in the


local paper about some Taupō residents' frustrations at internet service provider’s inability to supply broadband connections in their homes, we decided to move to open our wireless broadband service to the public," Steve Murray, chief executive of Tuaropaki Trust, says. Steve says part of Tuaropaki's decision to offer its broadband connection to residents and businesses was to help improve Taupō's business prospects. "If Taupō wants to continue to grow and attract the top talent required to do this, then ensuring residents have instant access to fast broadband is a prerequisite," he says. "We don't want to compete with ISPs, we're doing this to support the infrastructure of Taupō."

Steve says feedback from residents who have utilised the service has been positive. "We put a lot of emphasis on getting people connected quickly and easily and make sure we have a strong follow-up service for our customers,” Steve says. “We’re proud of how fast and reliable T>Stream has proven to be and Taupō residents are telling us they love the service.”


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Great Lake Taupō timeshare owners are living proof that time is money. There are 26 timeshare resorts in New Zealand with nine resorts, or 168 units in Taupō, underlying the regions claim as the ‘Timeshare capital of New Zealand.’


The Timeshare Capital



ach year timeshares are conservatively estimated to pump $10.7 million into the local economy – $7.3 million from owners and exchange guests spending, and $3.4 million by resorts direct spending. In this country the New Zealand Holiday Ownership Council (NZHOC) oversees the sales and marketing, and operation of the timeshare industry. John Sewell, on behalf of the NZHOC, says timeshares offer quality accommodation and value for money. “Timeshare apartments are generally larger and better appointed than a comparable sized motel unit and it can cost as little as $125 a night for a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment, big enough to comfortably sleep six people,” John says.


On average 20 per cent of guests staying in Taupō resorts are foreigners many from Australia, USA, Canada and Asia while 22 per cent are domestic visitors from timeshare resorts in other areas of New Zealand, says John. Basically owning a timeshare is sharing ownership of a holiday apartment mostly in weekly intervals but also through points based clubs. Timeshare resorts which are mainly title based and governed by the Unit Titles Act 2010 offer either a combination of fixed and floating weeks, or fully floating. An annual maintenance fee covers such things as insurance, rates, electricity, and maintenance. Owners can join an international exchange company (e.g. RCI, Interval

International, DAE) and exchange a holiday at their home resort with an affiliated resort anywhere in the world. Oreti Village Timeshare Resort owner/manager Alex Ashford reckons he could write a book about the fluctuating fortunes of timeshare ownership. “It’s the craziest business I know of,” he says. A veteran in the business after 27 years as developer and manager at Oreti Village, Alex says the concept is “badly misunderstood” by many and has suffered from the past. “It’s a great concept but it is not well understood mainly because of the bad name it received during the early days in the ‘80s.” He says he has “hung in” through the highs and lows since starting building Oreti in 1985 because he ISSUE#01 G R E A T O P P O R T U N I T I E S . C O . N Z


Owner/Manager: Alex Ashford Location: 20 minutes to Turangi/ 45 minutes to Taupō Owners: 220 owners Six Timeshare units – 2-3 bedroom. Restaurant and conference area plus 20 x 2 bedroom apartments rented to the public. Contact: 07 386 7070 / reception@ /

believes it is still the most affordable way to holiday. “Timeshares are not a reservation like a hotel or motel. “It’s a pooled accommodation system instead. You put a week in, and you get a week out.” Alex says timeshares have many advantages over traditional holiday accommodation and ownership and make a significant contribution of more than $10m and over 200,000 , bed nights annually to the local Lake Taupō district economy, a factor not fully recognised. “It’s like owning a holiday bach without the big investment but it doesn’t suit everyone.” Alex says. There are no cleaning or maintenance worries, no rates or insurance, and through affiliated exchange companies, owners can holiday anywhere in the world for the cost of a plane fare, and the small ‘exchange fee’. Owners generally stay a week, not short overnight or weekend breaks. Oreti remains popular because of the native bush setting, views overlooking Lake Taupō, the walks and tranquillity, he says. The setting attracts captains of industry, legal and financial professionals, with their families. “They arrive for their week, and you don’t see them for a few days, as they


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Managers: Jeanette and Ray Gover Owners: 1100 22 units comprising eight two bedroom, one three bedroom and 13 one bedroom units. Heated indoor pool, outdoor pool, tennis court. Monad Pacific Management Group Contact: 07 378 0333 / enquiries@ /

unwind and then begin to enjoy the facilities. “By the time they leave they have a smile on their faces.” Many of Oreti’s users are third generation families of the original owners who have kept their investment, and can now share the experience with their adult children and grandchildren, Alex says.


Village Resorts Taupō co-manager Jeanette Gover believed her husband Ray had gone slightly mad when he suggested they should manage a timeshare. The couple are now the longest serving timeshare resort managers in Taupō, managing the business for 26 years since it was built in 1987. They have had no regrets with their lifestyle change. Under their management the resort became Taupō’s first timeshare to be awarded a five star quality rating. They have seen trends come and go, families grow and teenage summer romances flourish and evaporate. “Families arrive to spend a week on holiday, they relax and spend money in the community, it’s a big investment for the local economy,” Ray says. The resort regularly has 100 or more guests staying each week, many enjoying the attractions such as trout fishing, skiing or boating. “It took time for the concept to be grasped by owners at the beginning. “The owners who understand how to use the exchange system benefit from it and enjoy it.” The majority of the guests who stay at Turangi Leisure Lodge come to experience the regions unsurpassed outdoors, manager Lois Carson says. “They arrive for their ‘week’ to walk the trails, the Tongariro Crossing, the tracks in the National Park, or try the trout fishing which is popular with our American guests.” Lois has been running the timeshare in the heart of Turangi for the past 23 years, making her one of the longest serving managers in the industry. Managing the 38 unit timeshare is more than a job for Lois whose Saturday morning ‘Welcomes’ are

Manager: Lois Carson Owners: 1800 owners – 95 per cent domestic/5 per cent international (USA, UK, Aust etc) 38 total units include 4 three bedroom, 16 two bedroom and 18 one bedroom. Monad Pacific Management Group Contact: 07 386 8988 / enquiries@ /

legendary among the owners and exchange guests “The ‘Welcomes’ are the start of the week for me,” Lois says. “It doesn’t matter if there are two or 102 people; I will be there to greet them, enjoy a sausage sizzle (and some bubbly at Christmas) and they get to learn about what our wonderful region has to offer from some very talented tour guides.” “Some of our overseas exchange guests have returned several times they are so impressed with what we offer.” Timeshare ownership also forces people to take a break, she says.

By the time they leave they have a smile on their faces. ALEX ASHFORD

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Managers: Grant and Mary Cope Location: Two Mile Bay, Taupō Owners: 456 12 apartments comprising two bedrooms (sleep 7) and three bathrooms, including ensuite, plus apartment rented to public. Heated pool (30 degrees C), outdoor/indoor spa. Contact: 07 378 4981 / /

Timeshares are very affordable for families. MARY COPE


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On a clear, sunny Taupō day Lake Edge Resorts pure white façade has the look of the Greek Island resort shimmering above the shoreline. The multi-tiered roof complex, snuggled into a small cove near Two Mile Bay, stands out like a welcoming beacon from across Taupō’s main lakefront. Managers Grant and Mary Cope often holidayed with family at a timeshare, or holiday ownership, resort in Taupō before deciding to live in the town permanently. “Owning the holiday weeks before we came to live in Taupō was a great opportunity to enjoy a holiday with the

whole family,” Mary says. “Timeshares are very affordable for families. You can fit seven people in a unit far more cheaply than if they stayed in alternative holiday accommodation. In winter owners arrive from as wide afield as Australia, Britain, Singapore, Hong Kong, India and Singapore to use the exchange system to swap weeks with their own resorts. In 2007 the resort had $1.2 million refurbishment “to bring it into the 21st century.” Taupō Ika Nui’s centrally located position, overlooking the main Lake Taupō lakefront, is a leisurely five minute stroll from the Taupō shopping centre reinforcing the resort’s premier status as a “new generation timeshare resort”. Manager David Morley says the $2.4 million “back to the foundations” refurbishment project over the past five years has restored it to its position as one of NZ’s finest, and ensured the 994 owners have been able to retain the opportunity to experience an affordable holiday at minimal cost. “I believe timeshare ownership must be for the benefit of the owners with affordable annual maintenance levies, while at the same time maintaining a high standard of accommodation,” he says. “We are not in the business of making large profits we are here to provide quality accommodation and lasting holiday memories.” Hard work has rewarded Taupō Ika Nui with many industry awards – the only timeshare resort in New Zealand with a 4.5 Star Qualmark Rating; Gold Crown Resort and RCI hospitality, plus DAE-listed Gold Advantage Resort Approximately half of the owners holiday in Taupō each year. The rest choose to swap their annual entitlements into any one of over 5000

Manager: David Morley Owners: 994 owners owning 1428 intervals (80 per cent domestic/15 per cent Aust/five per cent UK, Canada, Germany, USA, Asia) 28 apartments comprising 22 one bedroom (sleep 5), and six two bedroom units (sleep 6). Contact: 07 378 9323 / /

timeshare resorts worldwide. Timeshare ownership has become relatively fluid as long established owners reluctantly decide to sell their weeks due to their age, allowing others to purchase at very competitive prices. “Timeshare ownership at Taupō Ika Nui is a way of having high quality family holidays at a fraction of the cost of conventional holiday methods,” David says. Lakeside Villas is a stone’s throw from the Lake Taupō shoreline. At peak holiday times it can fill to capacity as 150 guests and their families take advantage of the superb facilities. After 20 years at Lakeside Villas, managers Callum and Jenny McLeod, have decided to retire to their Taupō home and have handed over the reins to incoming managers Patrick and Julie O’Connor. “The concept of holiday ownership is brilliant with the advantage of having your ownership totally managed for you,” Jenny says.

Managers: Julie and Patrick O'Connor Owners: 1075 Twenty eight apartments comprising eight studios, four 1-bedroom units, three 2-bedroom units, and 13 purpose built two-storey Villas with own private courtyard and spa pool. Family orientated resort with covered swimming pool, squash court, and tennis court. Contact: 07 378 6706 / /

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I have seen generations of families grow up here... LYN WAUGH

Manager: Lyn Waugh Owners: 600 12 units including five 2 bedroom, three 1 bedroom and four studio units. Only Taupō timeshare built on the thermal belt. Contact: 07 378 7216 / phresort@ /


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Patrick and Julie previously owned a forestry business. Julie has had experience in elderly care and managing hospitality businesses in Taupō. “It’s all new and exciting,” she says. “We are both looking forward to meeting the owners and upholding the current standards held by the previous managers. Lakeside Villa’s has a Resort “Gold Crown” status. Phoenix Resort Taupo manager Lyn Waugh, originally from

"It's like a home away from home." RAE MAGAN

KAIMANAWA LODGE TURANGI, NZ Managers: Jim and Rae Magan Owners: 600 13 units – 4 studio units, seven 1 bedroom, two 2 bedroom Lockwood construction units. Swimming pool, indoor spa pool, games room and owners lounge in park-like grounds. Weekly happy hour and dinner cooked by managers. Monad Pacific Management Group TOP LEFT: The Tongariro River is a popular fishing destination as well as a beautiful backdrop for walks and hikes in the Turangi area.

Palmerston North, arrived at the white colonial styled gabled roof resort near Two Mile Bay on Lake Taupō 15 years ago and hasn’t looked back. She says she will probably have to be carried out of the resort when she retires. ”I have seen generations of families grow up here and now I am getting the children, from when I first arrived, come and stay with their own families,” Lyn says. Taupō’s central location – between four and five hours from either Wellington or Auckland, and less than two hours from Napier, Tauranga and Rotorua – is a major attraction at Phoenix Resort, Lyn says. Many of the owners are from NZ, and we also have a large number of overseas guests who take advantage of the exchange weeks. “It’s such a reasonably priced holiday especially for families to stay at a timeshare because they are so competitively priced with hotels and motels. “The benefit is that owners have the choice of staying at any timeshare anywhere in the world.”

Contact: 07 386 8709 / enquiries@ /

Kaimanawa Lodge managers Rae and Jim Magan have the perfect location for those who enjoy the outdoor recreational activities that the central plateau offers – whether it be fishing for trout in the pristine waters of the world renowned Tongariro River, boating and fishing on the Lake, skiing down the slopes of Ruapehu or Turoa, cycling or walking the many trails in the area. “Our owners are staying in the middle of an outdoors mecca – it’s only a short walk to the river – everything is so accessible,” Rae says. The couple moved to Turangi 12 years ago. “The Lodge is a tremendous asset to the township which is not often recognized and its close proximity to the Tongariro River, Tongariro National Park and Lake Taupō ensures the occupancy levels are around 90%, which is great for other businesses in the town,” Rae says. “It’s like a home away from home” and the high standards of hospitality is reflected in the international awards the Lodge receives from timeshare owners and exchange guests. “Timeshare ownership at Kaimanawa Lodge offers so much for owners to experience whether it being staying at the Lodge or exchanging to one of the more than 2,500 affiliated resorts worldwide.”

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Quality control pours the perfect cup STORY MIKE WATSON

Once roasted, coffee becomes a fresh product and starts oxidising naturally, so over time loses flavour. Fresh is best, so buy small amounts often. JO STEELE


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he smell of roasting coffee beans is a seductive force. Jo Steele’s Volcanic Coffee roastery is humming with the reassuring swish of roasted beans in the cooling tray and aromas of freshly made espresso. It’s a busy weekday morning for Jo, and it’s all go. The successful Taupō businesswoman and mother of two is the energy behind Lake Taupō Coffee Roasting Company widely known as the brand Volcanic Coffee. Jo suggests I sample a long black from her compact Wega espresso machine. Her on-going self-imposed quality control of the final product is apparent as she delivers the perfect cup. Volcanic Coffee launched five years ago after Jo’s job as a film marketing manager finished. The transformation from celluloid to caffeine was reasonably straight


forward for the former Wellingtonian. Jo had a reputation for producing a good brew for her friends back in the early ‘90s. When the opportunity to buy a commercial Turkish drum roaster came up, Jo jumped at it and Volcanic Coffee was born. “I’ve learnt that operating a business is 80 per cent persistence, and 20 per cent love. You have to love what you’re doing but commitment is key,” Jo says. “Demand is so great that I need to be roasting every day,” Jo says. “But as a small business, I have to also ensure I’m taking the time needed to grow Volcanic Coffee and look after my valuable customers.” Inside the roastery, which is housed in a custom building alongside her home, sit the basic tools of the trade. Half a dozen sacks each weighing around 60-70kgs, containing AA grade green arabica beans from Colombia,



LAKE TAUPO COFFEE ROASTING COMPANY – VOLCANIC COFFEE TOP LEFT: Roasting beans is the daily grind for Jo. FAR LEFT: The final product – packaged and ready for distribution.

Papua-New Guinea and India, are stacked on a wooden pellet. Nearby the gas heated, electric motor driven roaster is in full operational mode, with the mesmeric sound and distinct aroma of roasting coffee. An arm’s length away the espresso machine and grinder are poised to release Jo’s blending prowess. “Having a coffee roaster and mum at home was a real novelty for the children when they were growing up but now they don’t give it a second thought, and are proud to work in the business with me,” Jo says. Like any new enterprise, sales and promotion has been a hard slog, she says. “When I first started out I door knocked everywhere from car wreckers to coffee merchants, and pleasingly the business has grown year on year. “After five years, I’m still working really hard to build the brand further, and of course keep Volcanic Coffee the best. It’s a very competitive sector but our brand recognition has grown organically through word of mouth, and of course, the product always stacks up to expectation. “We set up our espresso machine at the Taupō Riverside Market every Saturday, selling both beans and cups of coffee, and that’s given us huge

exposure to the local market. It’s great to see familiar faces coming back for more every week.” Consistency of product is a critical aspect of Jo’s operation. The beans and ground coffee is always the same blend and is a medium dark roast. Jo distributes Volcanic Coffee throughout the central North Island from corporates to boutique supermarkets and delicatessens. Luxury lodges in the district use Volcanic Coffee to provide their clients a locally roasted product, and couriers deliver to the homes of loyal customers around the country. New Zealand has a growing international reputation for roasting and serving fantastic coffee. “Kiwis are smart, and they know what tastes good,” Jo says. “Volcanic Coffee is a premium product, and Taupō is a great platform to grow our business. “There is a lot of opportunity to prosper in a dynamic town like ours. The challenges are on-going, but we’re proud of what’s been achieved so far and we are excited about our plans for the future.”

Three bean blend, medium dark roast, using fair-trade arabica beans from Colombia and Papua New Guinea, and traditionally grown beans from India. Available from locally owned supermarkets, delicatessens and luxury lodges. Widely available throughout the Central Plateau region, and served fresh each Saturday morning at Taupō's Riverside Market.


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BUSINESS THRIVES Local company proves print is still relevant STORY KYLIE HAWKER-GREEN


rint is dying, or so the marketing headlines suggest. Taupō businessman and longtime owner of Quality Print, Shawn Vennell, disagrees. His business is thriving in the digital era. “I’m often asked how my business can survive in the modern environment of smart phone apps and online dependency,” Shawn says. “It’s about adaptation. Certainly, we’re not printing the same types of documents at the same volumes we were 10 years ago, but we’re still pumping our presses six days a week and continuing to grow.”


“The difference is, we have invested in our equipment and our team to ensure we can provide cost effective, high quality and quick print work for every client. We have high speed digital machines that whip short run print jobs out in a fraction of the time it used to take, and our full colour offset printer whirs away constantly with larger scale jobs.” Taupō locals say Quality Print is an iconic Taupō business that has been around forever. Shawn can trace the business history back to its formation in the 1970s, and the move in the 1980s to the current Runanga Street site by then owner Barry Leitch (brother of the Mad Butcher, Sir Peter Leitch). In 1985, fresh-faced high school dropout Shawn Vennell was employed at Quality Print as an apprentice Sheet-Fed Printer. He soon discovered a passion for print, which was unexpected and quite left field for those who knew him best. “I had dreams of being a mechanic,” Shawn laughs. “However my mechanic father was quick to tell me that it probably wasn’t my calling. Then this apprenticeship popped up and I thought I’d give it a try.” Shawn spent 15 years working his way up from being the apprentice to a point in 2000 when he purchased

TOP LEFT: Some of the staff at Quality Print. CENTRE & BOTTOM LEFT: Old-school craftsmanship and new technologies combine together for quality results. FAR RIGHT: Shawn Vennell with his wife and business partner Cathy.


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50% of the business from then owner, Rex Mathieson. In 2008, Shawn and wife, Cathy, purchased the business outright from the Mathiesons – although you’ll still see Rex around the office as his grammar and attention to detail are vital skills as part of the Quality Print team. Spend some time at the Quality Print factory, and one thing becomes quickly apparent. Shawn isn’t spouting hyperbole when he says his team are everything in his business. This man walks the talk in leadership and values. “I guess it comes down to a constant desire to do the best I can,” Shawn says. “A few years ago I saw a fantastic keynote speaker whose personal challenge was to inspire a performance worthy of a standing ovation every day. I can remember thinking, ‘Wow, that’s the kind of mantra I should live by’. So now I do.” “My team see that, they see me and the family working nights and weekends to go the extra mile, and they follow that lead,” Shawn says. “We have a good vibe here, a great culture. We all work hard, and I’m quick to reward my team for great

...inspire a performance worthy of a standing ovation every day... SHAWN VENNELL

effort they always put in.” A stickler for customer service, his passion for excellence led to Shawn’s appointment to the Board of Towncentre Taupō (the local business association) where he served for six years, two as chairman. And it would seem that Shawn and his team are doing something right. In 2009, they won the Best Trade/ Service Business and the Overall Business of the Year in the Taupō Business Awards, followed in 2010 by Best Trade/Service Business. In 2011, the business earned the MediumLarge Business of the Year category. “Now we’re a sponsor of the awards,” Shawn proudly says. “Winning the awards three years in a row was a huge boost for the team, and it proved to Cathy and I that we are on the right track. It’s a great chance for us to now give something back to the local businesses, and support our clients on their quest for excellence.” Shawn says.


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Vision, views and entrepreneurial spirit



inloch was founded on vision. Back in the 1950s two men, Keith Holyoake, soon to become Prime Minister of New Zealand and later Sir Keith and Governor General, and Ian Gibbs, took bare land and planned, developed and created what is now a beautiful and extremely desirable residential and holiday destination. In autumn it’s particularly sensational. Land architects Merlin Bartley, led by Taupō man Bruce Bartley share a similar foresight to those 1950s pioneers, and LochEagles estate is testament to Kinloch coming of age. Bruce, a professional engineer, compares his business partnership with Wanganui investor Ted Vallely to Holyoake and Gibbs. “It’s a bit of history repeating itself –


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an older man working with a younger engineer to enhance the future of Kinloch,” Bruce says. “Ted and I have enjoyed a great business partnership that’s worked well. LochEagles is our third successful project together,” Bruce says. The pair have invested heavily in the four-stage development. Bruce believes LochEagles is the largest native plant regeneration programme in a development in this region. Leading landscape architects BoffaMiskell created the landscape design and more than $700,000 has been invested in native regeneration – a great asset and enhancement to the adjacent native bush reserve. “We have three principles for good land development and all three must be in balance,” Bruce says. “Good

financial results, good community benefits, and positive environment outcomes.” Named with a nod to Glen Eagles, the renowned Scottish golf club and Kinloch, LochEagles had a successful launch in 2001 with 71 lots selling in the first week. It was an exciting start. “People wanted to participate in the property boom and we’d timed and priced LochEagles well,” Bruce says. “Values zoomed up then stabilised and stayed at that. We were lucky. Other developments haven’t fared so well.” LochEagles’ sections vary in size from large urban lots on Kenrigg Road and increase in size and value at the more elevated sites. The views to Taupō’s remote western bays, only accessible by boat, are stunning and the nearby golf club and lodge,



The growth in people making lifestyle choices is booming... BRUCE BARTLEY

along with boating, fishing, biking, hiking and skiing make LochEagles a desirable base for playing and business. “It’s a fabulous position in a beautiful and pristine part of New Zealand,” Bruce says. “Kinloch is a village but it’s evolved from being a separate settlement to a satellite of Taupō. We’re only 15 minutes from town – hardly a big commute! LochEagles is a positive story and they are confident to build a new stage this year. LochEagles is not Bruce’s only business project. Proving that you can be a global player from the central North Island of New Zealand, Bruce is also a director of a satellite tracking company, Spidertracks, the name of a tracking device for aircraft and helicopters. Onboard it sends the plane’s GPS location in real time via the Iridium Satellite Network and displays the track of flight on the Spidertracks website. Bruce bought the first Spidertrack developed for helicopters and was so impressed he invested in the new company. Spidertracks are now used globally. “You can create a business, run a business and do interesting things from anywhere you want,” Bruce says. “The growth in people making lifestyle choices is booming and LochEagles is ideal – it’s a high quality development offering lifestyle and business balance in a sunny and beautiful environment.”


BELOW: Bruce with the contour model of the proposed development at LochEagles. BELOW MIDDLE & BOTTOM: The dream is realised.

5 MINUTES WITH BRUCE LOCHEAGLES Why Taupō? My wife Raewyn and I recently lived for a while in Boulder, USA. It’s a lovely place and like Taupō it’s easy to fit in. But the landscape has one palette of four colours – blue, white, brown dirt and ponderosa pine green. Returning to Taupō and looking with fresh eyes made me notice the beauty of this place. It’s super-beautiful. We looked at options in Wellington and Auckland but nothing matched what we have here. Taupō is central and easily connected to Hawke's Bay, the Bay of Plenty, Auckland, Wellington, Taranaki and Waikato. The community is an excellent size – it has everything and yet doesn’t have the hassle of city life; it’s very efficient living. We don’t have a rush hour, more like a rush minute! And Kinloch? Kinloch is a bit like Acacia Bay used to be – holiday baches on Lake Taupō bays and now its urban with some $1 million plus properties and a very desirable place to live and work. Kinloch is in a fabulous position; it’s in a beautiful and pristine part of New Zealand. Mountain biking is great for this place and the town is growing steadily. I believe in the development – it’s good for Taupō and vice versa. LochEagles faces northwest; it’s sunny and warm with amazing views. We dispel the myth that Taupō is cold. Business philosophy? Land development should be positive for the community and to the environment. If you do it in a creative and intelligent way you can achieve this balance. ISSUE#01 G R E A T O P P O R T U N I T I E S . C O . N Z



Next generation sees future in property STORY MIKE WATSON


he name Westerman is synonymous with real estate in Taupō. Thousands of the region’s properties have been sold since founder Dorothy Westerman first hammered in a waratah standard and put up a ‘for sale’ shingle, with her name and three digit phone number, 50 years ago. Dorothy’s vision, after she and husband Paul arrived from Hawke's Bay in the early 1950s, predicted Taupō’s holiday destination potential. Her vision became the firm’s trademark, successfully carried on by the following generations of the family. Taupō during the 1950s-60s resembled a frontier town; pumice roads and choking dust storms, broom, and a fledgling tourist industry based on trout fishing. For Dorothy, juggling nine children, the town’s central location, and empty


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land offered unrealised potential. “Dorothy was always able to see the big picture,” daughter, and company director, Yvonne Westerman says. “When she and Paul honeymooned in Taupō, they could see the potential; there was never any intention to go back to Hawke's Bay.” Dorothy was roundly criticised when deciding to expand the business in the 1970s and buy the Ruapehu and Roberts St corner property where Westerman Property Solutions and Bayleys are situated today, Yvonne says. “Everyone told her she was crazy. It was windy – the ‘bum’ end of the town, but she persevered and bought it anyway.” It is the now one of Taupō’s landmark sites; metres from the lakefront and surrounded by busy cafeterias and food outlets.

Since those pioneering days exactly 50 years ago Dorothy Westerman Real Estate has evolved into the diverse family-owned enterprise. Yvonne, and her twin sister, Elaine, successfully diversified the company after their mother stepped aside in the 1990s. The two women, who began in the industry straight from school at 15-years-old, inherited their mother’s commercial foresight. The real estate company is now flourishing, trading as Bayleys Real Estate with locations in Turangi as well as the Flagship office at the Lake end of Taupō town. The property management business is a hub of activity also located in the magnificent Westerman Building. Not content to sit back and knowing technology was the key to keeping their business at the forefront, the twins saw an opportunity across the ditch. Under Elaine’s stewardship, the two women saw an opportunity to invest in a fledging Australian

We believe we have the most diverse portfolio of any property management company in the country. BEN WESTERMAN

software company, offering online support to an increasingly fast-paced real estate industry. The culmination of this strategy was realised in 2011 when Portplus was launched to the Australian Stock Exchange as part of a wider IPO through ONTHEHOUSE Holdings Pty. The stand alone rental company, Westerman Property Solutions Limited, offers management for all styles of properties including; residential, commercial, leasehold and body corporates. They have management contracts throughout the Taupō district, Wellington, Palmerston North and Gisborne, with a total rent roll of around 1700 properties at a value exceeding $420 million. They even manage a small town – well, a number of leasehold properties at Mangakino. “We believe we have the most diverse portfolio of any property management company in the country,” WPS director, and grandson, Ben Westerman, says. “Our success is based on being owner driven. The buck stops with us.” Says Yvonne: “There is the good, the bad and the ugly in property management but there are always many satisfying moments. “Recently we were able to find rental accommodation for a young family who had their house burnt down. “They came to us in the afternoon having lost everything except the clothes they were wearing. “It was immensely satisfying to get them into a rental.” Yvonne is most impressed with the newly refurbished Westerman rental

office. She remembers well the last time it was revamped while it was still tied in with the real estate office and the administration girls had to sit on their office table and chairs on the front path during the day while the offices inside where being painted and carpeted. It was the middle of winter and each night the girls had to cart the furniture back inside. Thankfully, this was not required, particularly as the office is now located on the 1st level of the Westerman Building. While no one knows what may lie ahead for this iconic Taupō business, it is certain that with the next generation of Westermans leading the way, clients, landlords and tenants can be sure of the continued dedication to achieve the very best outcomes from all those who are proud to be part of the Westerman Team.


ABOVE: The Westerman Building is an iconic cornerstone of the CBD. BELOW: Yvonne Westerman (left) with her nephew Ben, in their newly refurbished office space.

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LEFT: The IRONMAN New Zealand brings competitors from all over the globe. ABOVE: The Oxfam Trailwalker. TOP RIGHT: The Erupt Festival. BELOW RIGHT: The Summer Concert at the Amphitheatre.


Events in Taupō: a one-stop-shop STORY DEE WILSON

A huge part of Taupo’s identity is caught up with events because they make us proud of who we are. NICK READER


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ake Taupō’s natural attractions, its quality venues and the growing popularity of outdoor events involving competitors of all ages and skill levels are giving the region the edge as a world class event destination. The annual IRONMAN New Zealand event in March and the iconic Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge each November set the bar high. IRONMAN annually brings around 1600 participants and double that number of supporters from more than 50 countries. The hugely popular cycle challenge attracts around 9000 riders for its road and mountain biking options. The economic benefit to the Taupō District from the regions event industry is estimated in the tens of millions of dollars. Nick Reader, District Events Manager, is leading the charge from within Taupō District Council to grow the region’s reputation as the best


events destination in the country. Nick is passionate about the opportunities that still exist. The district events calendar shows the diversity and the quality of the events on offer with everything from road cycling, mountain biking, marathons and half marathons, lake swims, triathlons, sailing, power boat racing, white water rafting, road motorcycling, motorsport drags and drifts, national equestrian events, national golf competition… the list goes on. On the cultural front there is a biennial arts festival and an annual outdoor summer concert with top international acts that attract capacity crowds of up to 14,000. Nick Reader’s experience establishing and running a Taupōbased events company for 11 years gives him personal insight into the challenges facing events organisers and the industry as a whole. “Our role is to marry up some of the


best event organisers and owners with what we believe are some of the best event venues in the world,” he says. He heads an events team committed to making sure they live up to their claim of “rolling out the red carpet not the red tape”. Nick says this includes start up funding for events, assistance and advice on marketing and sponsorship, venues, logistics, regulations and rules, traffic and rubbish management, food and liquor licenses and other regulated concessions. “We’ve taken a one-stop-shop approach to make sure people coming to us are given advice, guidance and assistance to ensure the smooth, safe and successful running of their event,” he says. Although the team is realistic about its ability to compete with larger centres like Wellington and Auckland for some events, Taupō’s size and the quality of its venues are far superior to those normally found in a town of 23,000, and this can be an advantage. “We are able to host all nature, size and stature of festivals and events without the congestion and hassle associated with bigger towns and give people a quality experience in terms of well-run, safe events in a beautiful environment that is also a great place to stay,” he says. “We have so many

aces in the pack – it’s ’ just a matter of playing them right.” Nick says Taupō’s central location and the ease and speed that people can get from any venue, sporting or cultural, to accommodation, bars, restaurants and cafés creates a well rounded experience for event participants, supporters and spectators. A solid support base of volunteers numbering in the thousands, drawn mainly from local clubs and organisations, has proved integral to the successful running of events like IRONMAN, the cycle challenge, and various triathlons, mountain biking events and half marathons. “A huge part of Taupō’s identity is caught up with events because they make us proud of who we are. It’s something to do with the energy, vibrancy and colour that events bring to our district – not to mention the fundraising opportunities they offer

RIGHT: Volunteers are the oil on the cogs of every single event held here. BELOW: Nick and his family love all the activities in the 'Events Capital.'


ABOUT US The Great Lake Centre can accommodate 6 – 600 people. The venue offers versatility and flexibility making it the ideal choice for your next event. Catering for banquet dinners, trade shows, expos’ exhibitions, concerts, conferences, product launches and special events. LOCATION

We are positioned in the heart of Taupo’s central business district only a five minute drive from the airport. Only a stroll from our beautiful rose gardens, adjacent our domain and an easy walk to the boat harbour and the vibrant cafes in the CBD.

FACILITIES Featuring a theatre and also an exhibition hall, the Great Lake Centre is a modern, flexible, spacious centre. With event management and technical services both available the Great Lake Centre offers all of the facilities necessary to ensure your next event is a success. Our venue has ample free parking.

0064 7 376 0340 0800 951 951


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clubs and organisations.” Nick says although ideas for new events have to be carefully worked through to make sure they are feasible there is still room for more growth. He says venues like Taupō Motorsport Park, the National Equestrian Centre and the new cycle track around Lake Taupō that is part of the New Zealand Cycle trail project create further opportunities for events. “We want to hear from anyone who has a sniff of an idea. Come and talk to us and will do our best to make it happen,” Nick says.

5 MINUTES WITH AMANDA CALVERT SUMMER CONCERT CEO Taupō ticks all the boxes for Amanda Calvert, Chief Executive of Taupō Summer Concert.


BIG WHEELS KEEP ON TURNING The long running Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge has grown from a small bike ride around Lake Taupō to an event of international proportions. And while the annual challenge on the last Saturday in November is now the largest cycling event in New Zealand local event organisers are not resting on their laurels. Event director for the past three years Kay Brake says although the event remains popular – with between eight to 10,000 participants each year – people these days have a lot more choice and organisers work hard to keep the challenge experience exciting. Kay says that in her six years with cycle challenge – as administration manager and then event director – the event has not stood still and remains a constant “work in progress”.

The Taupō concert is part of the nationwide Summer Concert Tour that takes in Queenstown and Matakana.

“A lot of time is spent researching, surveying and updating statistics and tweaking the various categories. “That’s what keeps it fresh and brings people back.” It seems to be working. Statistics show that people return each year to take part with more than a dozen riders each having completed the event a staggering 25 times since it kicked off in 1977. These days the cycle challenge is also big business, bringing an estimated $4.8 million into the Taupō economy each year. The event, which remains locally owned by the Taupō Moana Rotary Club, is governed by a charitable trust with a separate management team and has seen more than $1.2 million in grants distributed to community groups in the last 15 years.

The 34-year-old who was born and raised in Taupō came up with the concept for the first concert in Queenstown in 2011 - run by her previous company Alpine Entertainment - after shifting from Raglan to live in Taupō with her husband, Dean, and three children. “We could see there was a gap in the market for something affordable on a festival scale that offered family entertainment. “The big promotions at venues like Vector Arena take a lot of capital, up to $1 million, to run and we wanted something more affordable.” The success of the Queenstown concert prompted Amanda and her business partners to look further afield. Taupō’s reputation as a summer holiday destination, its central location and the town’s amphitheatre made it a perfect venue.

“A lot of people have been doing it for years including some management team members and volunteers who have been with us for more than 10 years.

The first Taupō summer concert in March 2012 followed by another one last year have both been sell outs attracting capacity crowds of 14,000.

“Like everyone in Taupō you volunteer and get caught up with how motivated everyone is and what a celebration the whole event experience is,” she says.

Calvert says Taupō is an ideal base. “The lifestyle is great for the family and I love the way this community gets 100% behind events,” she says. ISSUE#01 G R E A T O P P O R T U N I T I E S . C O . N Z



NATURE WONDERLAND ON OUR BACK DOORSTEP Buzzing with activities and exquisite beauty STORY LIANNE FRASER


llow plenty of time to explore Wairakei Tourist Park, just north of Taupō. The Waikato River slides through it tumbling its entire volume over Huka Falls before meandering on to Lake Aratiatia through floodgates and onto the first of eight electricity-generating dams on the river. You could spend a week wandering through the Park and still leave things unseen and activities undone. Explore the Park from the river, by mountain bike or from the air. The park is open 365 days and clustered around its many natural attractions are a range of tourism ventures. It’s a well-known and muchvisited tourist destination. Experience the geothermal activity of the Park,


learn about the earth’s natural forces, take on the challenge of prawn fishing and enjoy a unique honey experience. While the hospitality and geothermal industries are well represented, there are plenty of opportunities for new attractions and experiences, and investment in the area is actively encouraged. “Because the wide variety of attractions and activities are well established, the Park has great prospects for people wanting to start up new ventures,” says Business Studio director Sarah Brown. “It’s not like going in fresh and operating as a stand alone business in an empty field.” The Park is on track to become one of New Zealand’s first easy to access

eco-parks that actively encourages tourism. A kiwi sanctuary, recently established within Wairakei’s International Golf course led the charge and now many of the park’s tourist and accommodation operators are involved in pest and predator control as well as tree planting programmes. The majority of land in Wairakei Tourist Park is owned by the Crown. All leases, licenses and recreation permits over Crown land are managed through Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Naomi Bray, Colliers International Email: CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Mountain biking, jet boating, prawn fishing, thermal pools, golfing, helicopter flights, geothermal sightseeing and honey tasting are just a few of the activities currently available – and there is scope for more!



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NEW LIFE FOR GABLES LAKEFRONT MOTEL Lakefront icon reaps the benefits of a revamp



ormer Wellington business couple Gray Thompson and Jo Bransgrove’s passion for Taupō and their lakefront motel is infectious. The first-time moteliers moved to Taupō in December 2012 after purchasing the Gables Motor Lodge – now Gables Lakefront Motel. The pair has wasted no time transforming the dated ‘70s motor lodge into a modern, contemporary stop off for travellers. The distinctive gabled rooftop is still in place and so are the million dollar views over Lake Taupō to the mountains from the one bedroom apartments, with ample free parking for guests. But that’s not where it ends. All of the one, two and three bedroom apartments have been fitted out with new beds, furniture and fittings. The web site and brochures have also been revamped. Guest feedback about the beds says it all – “Most comfortable beds we ever slept in”... “Best sleep I ever had” … “Wish I could take the bed with me”... Six superior one bedroom apartments that sleep up to four – each with a private outdoor hot pool – have been given a designer make-over in keeping with the chic, contemporary holiday bach theme. Stunning photographs of Lake Taupō


We love being here... how could you not? JO BRANSGROVE

mounted on canvas by well known photographer Peter Latham add touches of class. Free Wi-Fi and 50 plus Sky Television channels are part of the attention to detail. The couple plan to complete refurbishment of the remaining six one-bedroom apartments by the end of next year (2014) before moving on to the three family units. An exterior paint job will be finished by Christmas (2013). The hard work and enthusiasm is paying off. Trip Advisor ratings place the motel in the top five of 73 Taupō accommodation providers compared with a rating of 34th when Gray and Jo took over in December 2012. “We love being here,” Jo says. “How could you not – with the best beach in Taupō just across the road and views like this,” she says.


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SEEING THE WOOD THROUGH THE TREES A clear focus for Tenon Taupō



aupō has always been the right location for Tenon. After 48 years, they might have questioned aspects of the business, but they’ve never questioned its location. From day one, it’s been spoton, strategically close to high-quality forest resources and major export ports. The Taupō operation is one of a few mills around the world to have operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Its New Zealand’s largest pruned-log sawmill with a capacity to process 400,000 logs per year. And for the company, the business is all about adding value – to their clear wood products, their staff and their community. “Taupō is an exceptional place to do business,” Tenon Taupo General Manager Mark Taylor says. “We’ve had 48 years to test the location. The


plant’s changed, our operation has developed but the one constant we’ve never questioned is where we are.” “The area, its infrastructure, resources and great people – Taupō gives us all this,” he says. We have always been respectful of the role we play within the community and are constantly looking for ways to ensure

Our manufacturing operation is now one of the largest exporters of finished high grade products to the U.S. MARK TAYLOR

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BELOW: It takes a large and dedicated team to run this successful operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We aspire to be the leading manufacturer of radiata clear wood products in New Zealand. MARK TAYLOR

we give back to the people and the area that has served us so well over the years. The Taupō operation which employs over 260 people supplies Clear Boards and Solid Clear Mouldings to more than 850 Big Box retail stores in the USA. The company has also successfully grown high value clear wood sales into China, Asia, Europe and Australia over the last few years. In early 2011 the company established a Distribution and Manufacturing operation in Australia. Such growth requires real attention to detail and the team at Taupō are up for the challenge “it’s great to see your product in stores around the world, it is a real attribute to the great team we have” Mark says.


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In partnership with Contact Energy, the company commissioned and developed a geothermal heat supply for their 9 kilns on site, which operate 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The switch from burning natural gas to generate heat to using eco-friendly and renewable geothermal energy has been a great success story with productivity up and costs down, by at least 30%. “Most customers want their product kiln-dried. It’s an essential part in the process of exporting our products, which also need to be competitively priced,” Mark says. “Wood dries more efficiently from geothermal energy and all the kilns can be used at the same time, which wasn’t possible with natural gas.”

For Tenon Taupō the future is about further growth in the global market and they can do that with confidence knowing they have a winning formula… great people, great location, great product.


It's our core business and we understand the need for flexible and effective finance facilities. DUNCAN BROWN




Financial packages for busy clients STORY LIANNE FRASER


inding the time to talk finance is often challenging, especially for busy people. Add in to the mix a remote workplace and long days, and it’s near impossible. Duncan Brown from Crediflex offers a unique personal service for people in just that situation. “Simply put, Crediflex organises loans for trucks, tractors, excavators, work vans and pretty much anything else you'll need to run a successful business,” Duncan says. “We work with most of the leading banks and finance companies and negotiate on our clients behalf for the best possible outcome. “Our clients are often up at 4am and not back till dark. They haven’t got time to do this kind of research. “It’s our core business and we understand the need for flexible and effective finance facilities,” Duncan says. “I get immense personal satisfaction from helping a business in the early stages and then seeing them thrive.” Duncan has been a partner with Crediflex for 18 months. His background is banking and business



finance, having spent much of his career with two of New Zealand’s largest financial institutions. It was invaluable corporate experience in the big city, but now he’s enjoying the work-life balance than comes from being based in Taupō. With a fair amount of time spent out on the road, Duncan finds Taupō’s central location ideal. “Doing business in Taupō is a real pleasure. I've joined the Chamber of Commerce and I really enjoy being in the company of so many positive people that share my passion for the region,” Duncan says. "I work from home and have a support centre in Auckland that I deal with via the web. I also manage the Taranaki region, which entails a fair bit of travel but with Taupō being so central, I can have a meeting in New Plymouth and still be home in time to get on the lake for an evening row!”


I grew up here and came back from Auckland to be closer to family. My wife and I love the outdoor living, she loves horse-riding and I enjoy rowing and mountain- biking. We have the most amazing facilities right on our doorstep including the National Equestrian Centre, some of the best mountain bike trails in the country and, of course, our beautiful lake! I’m currently working on a project to create a water sports facility on the lakefront for rowers, WakaAma, dragon boating, kayaking and I'm enjoying the opportunity to create something positive for the community. Here, I have work life balance.

The future? Technology is giving business owners so much more location choice these days and the new Taupō ETA (bypass) has opened up some great opportunities. I'd love to see a stronger commercial sector delivering attractive employment options to young professionals who understand the value of a healthy work/life balance and I look forward to playing my small part in achieving that future.

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So mething Old,

SOMETHING NEW Huka Falls Resort offers the complete wedding package for all couples



TOP LEFT: The church offers a charming backdrop for ceremony or photos. ABOVE: Kit and Gina Henning pose for photos at one of the many gorgeous spots on the spacious grounds.


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ncreasingly weddings are about creating an experience that celebrates the couple’s personal style and ensuring a lifetime of memories for themselves and their guests. Traditions are changing and when planning their wedding Brides and Grooms are no longer simply focused on the ceremony. Today’s sophisticated couples are seeking a destination and an entire weekend rather than an afternoon or evening.


Whether the choice is a traditional or modern themed wedding Huka Falls Resort offers the complete package to ensure all couples enjoy their dream wedding in a beautiful setting. This idyllic venue is set within a six hectare site of beautifully landscaped gardens and an expansive vineyard. Boasting stunning reception venues, picturesque photo opportunities and spacious accommodation Huka Falls Resort is a popular choice for couples both from New Zealand and all around

BELOW FROM TOP: Winery cellar room. The cuisine is just as stunning as the views. Rob and Jodie Bruning amongst the vines.



the world, as this central North Island location makes it easy for all guests regardless of where they are travelling from. With everything in one place, guests can attend the ceremony and reception, have photos and stay the night, all on one site. Ceremonies at Huka Falls Resort can be held either in the beautiful Lover’s knot garden or their historic Fletcher’s Church, which celebrated it’s 100th year in December 2013 - a splendid example of quintessential vintage New Zealand. With the recent legalisation of same sex weddings, Huka Falls Resort openly welcomes all couples to take advantage of the non-denominational church to tie the knot. Each ceremony is tailored to meet brides and grooms requirements, with their own chosen Celebrant or Minister to officiate. When it comes to catering, the resort’s professional chefs offer delicious pre dinner canapés or platters, which can be enjoyed in the quaint outdoor spaces. For receptions couples have the choice of a formal set menu or tailor made buffet menu in a variety of reception venues

encompassing outdoor courtyards, bar facilities and dance floors, ideal for an intimate party of two or soiree for 180. Couples are spoilt for choice when choosing their reception room; the lovely Acacia and Rangatiria room option features a river stone fireplace in Acacia room while the adjoining Rangatiria room is capable of seating up to 180 people. The Winery Cellar suits cosy dinner parties and a spectacular marquee on the restaurant deck offers outstanding views across the vineyard and out towards Mount Tauhara. Huka Falls Resort is the premier venue in Taupō for any function. The friendly, experienced team work closely with couples offering inspiration, guidance and local recommendations. Whether you are looking for a private dinner for two or a lavish wedding you will not be disappointed.



Huka Falls Resort is the premier venue for any function.

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Q A Why is Taupō such an ideal town for weddings? Karen Rainbow from Destination Great Lake Taupō explains...

Leola Abraham: Why get married in Taupō? Karen Rainbow: Taupō is an ideal wedding destination. You can create a complete weekend of it so your guests get a weekend away as well. Taupō’s central location is ideal when you have guests coming from throughout the country. Many people have an emotional tie to Taupō, they have great memories from when they were children or maybe they met here or holidayed here and are drawn back here to celebrate their special day. LA: What about the hen and stag nights? KR: Taupō is hugely popular for hen and stag dos. The feedback we receive is that people want a weekend away instead of just a night out. Taupō’s reputation for adventure means you can throw the hen or stag out of a plane by way of a skydive or off a bridge with a bungy! People want to create memories of a girl’s or lad’s weekend away and they are incorporating the huge range of activities that the Taupō region can offer. The ladies are booking


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health spas and beauty treatments and for the guys fishing weekends are popular as are paintball, quad-biking and driving a V8 or single seater racecar at the Motorsport Park. We also have great bars and restaurants where owners and managers make a real effort to look after people, especially when on their hen’s or stag do! LA: What are the ideal numbers for a venue? KR: 80-120 is ideal and offers the greatest range of options. Wairakei Resort Hotel can take up to 400 for a wedding reception and there are many other options. Huka Falls Resort is the ‘classic’ due to Fletcher’s Church being onsite, everything is all in one place. At the Millennium Hotel & Resort Manuels or the Taupō Yacht Club you can have your wedding ceremony on the beach and then simply stroll inside for the reception. The Hilton Lake Taupō has gorgeous grounds for ceremonies and the stunning ballroom has an ‘olde world feel’ that fits with the popular Great Gatsby theme. For something really special, Huka Lodge offers an absolutely stunning setting and

world class service. LA: What are the options at the Southern end of the Lake? KR: Tongariro Lodge, beside the Tongariro River and Oreti Village in Pukawa Bay are popular wedding destinations. Among the many advantages are the amazing photo opportunities. With the lake, river or mountains as the backdrop you don’t have to travel for photos, ensuring you can spend maximum time with your guests. LA: Is Taupō a good option for a honeymoon? KR: So often these days, due to work commitments, couples don’t have the time to go on the traditional three week honeymoon overseas straight after their ‘big day’. Instead they opt for a long weekend in Taupō and postpone their honeymoon to a time that suits their work schedule. Taupō is a great option because of its close proximity to the main centres and the luxury products on offer such as Huka Lodge, Hilton Lake Taupō and Poronui. Taupō is seen as a romantic destination with stunning scenery, thermal

hot pools and a range of activities and entertainment to suit all ages and abilities, whether it be a silver service lunch beside a river in the middle of the Kaimanawas, or a relaxing, thermal mineral soak looking over silica terraces. LA: Is Taupō a better option for guests? KR: A wedding in Taupō is a ‘destination wedding’ without asking your guests to travel overseas, therefore keeping the cost to your guests down. Keeping the wedding in New Zealand makes it more economical for your guests, while still being able to offer that special experience enabling couples to celebrate their wedding over a weekend with their family and friends. LA: What other amenities or services are on offer? KR: The Taupō region offers all the amenities and services required for a sensational wedding. There are numerous transport services for the bride to arrive by helicopter, boat, floatplane or even horse and carriage! Due to our smaller town size services are generally within close

proximity and there are no such things as ‘traffic jams’! The Taupō region really does have it all: venues, accommodation, catering, florists, photographers, beauticians and event hire equipment. The Taupō operators are well known for our exceptional service and for our reputation of working together. In most instances, your chosen wedding venue will be able to provide numerous recommendations for all the support services you require. LA: Where can I find information about planning my wedding in Taupō? KR: Our website lists venues, churches, gardens and wedding services available in Taupō and Turangi Tongariro. Taupō Weddings is another local website providing a huge range of options for planning your special day in Great Lake Taupō.


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TWO MAKE ONE OF A KIND Unique partnership yields quality results



he dynamic between designer and builder is sometimes challenging. But when there is synergy, the result is often an exquisite home with distinguishing architectural features, par excellence. Sam Coxhead and Matt Corleison own and operate Design Builders Taupō to deliver original designer homes to clients in Taupō and throughout the Central Plateau and Rotorua. Sam says: “We build unique, architecturally designed homes, designed from scratch to meet budget and built under a full fixed priced contract – offering one line


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of accountability from concept right through to completion.” The Design Builders Taupō team shy from the mass production approach to building. Instead, they actively work with and listen to their clients’ ideas and vision for their home and, through a creative process of discovery, find solutions to fit. Sam says: “Everyone is different, so why have the same house as everyone else? Your home should be as unique as you are. Your individuality and personality will be reflected in your home because you are the centre of the design process.” With 12 years’ experience

Everyone is different, so why have the same house as everyone else? Your home should be as unique as you are. SAM COXHEAD

working within large, multi-national organisations in a variety of senior commercial roles from aviation to banking, Sam says he is driven to deliver the “absolute best” in customer experience. He works to ensure that client interactions with the business are seamless and enjoyable. “Designing and building a unique home can seem a bit overwhelming for some, so instilling trust and confidence is a priority for me,” Sam says. From the well-known Coxhead family, Sam grew up in Taupō. He attended Massey University and following graduation worked in Auckland. In 2009, he and his wife, Keri Harper, moved back home to raise their young family. Sam says: “I pride myself on the reputation my family and I have built – of honesty, integrity and genuine care for our wider community; this underpins our service philosophy at Design Builders Taupō.” Matt, who hails from the Kapiti Coast, moved to Taupō eight years ago. He is an energetic, passionate and innovative second generation builder, with a keen eye for detail and a string of clients, turned friends. Matt found that joining the Design Builders family complemented his 13 years of award-winning building experience. He says that he jumped at the chance to enhance the level of service he can offer his clients. Now he is able to take clients from imaginative concept through to handing over the keys to their new home.

FAR LEFT: Sam and Matt on-site. ABOVE: The Design Builders team are responsible for a diverse range of unique and stunning homes throughout New Zealand.

“I love Taupō, its people and the central North Island playground. Building houses that suit this fantastic backdrop and take full advantage of every aspect offered by these sites really inspires me,” Matt says. Recently, Matt’s father, Phil, also a highly accomplished builder having built for some 40 odd years, joined the business as site supervisor. With full in-house service from design right through to construction, Design Builders Taupō caters for all customers and budgets. Sam says: “We are focused on running our business to an effective scale to ensure absolute quality of every part of each home. We would rather build fewer homes a year exceptionally well than a lot of homes averagely!”


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OASIS OF OPTIONS AND OPPORTUNITY A great match for the district


The company sets itself apart by its high standard of delivering 99 per cent accuracy. DESI LORAND

ABOVE: Desi would bring to the region a wealth of knowledge – as well as jobs.


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ntroducing Power Business Services, a cloud-based internet service founded by CEO, Desi Lorand. Six years ago, Desi started the business saying: “It was just me, one computer and a small scanner.” Today, the multi-million dollar company has grown 50 per cent every year, boasting more than 60 staff with digitisation centres in Auckland and


Wellington. Now Desi’s looking to set up a new office in Taupō. Power Business Services is an innovative online workflow service for managing business documents such as invoices, timesheets, business records and incoming mail processing, for corporate and government organisations. The accounts payable invoice scanning and data extraction service, known as OASIS (Online Authorisation of Supplier Invoices and Statements), allows customers to view and approve invoices online. Some of New Zealand’s largest companies and government organisations use the OASIS service. When suppliers provide (electronic, email or paper) invoices they are placed online for customers to access and approve. If customers use purchase orders, the invoices are electronically matched line for line with the purchase order lines and any quantity or price discrepancies are highlighted as exceptions to be resolved. The OASIS Claim Generation module can automatically send the supplier a uniquely numbered claim with specific details of each of the discrepancies in the invoice. Payment approval can be at a line item level and one invoice can have its individual line items authorised by different




cost centres. Once the invoices are approved for payment, OASIS exports the data directly into the client’s accounting system. This seamless solution means fast, accurate and less expensive invoice processing. A former IBM employee, Desi says the OASIS service solves two business problems. “We solve the labour cost and time delays of having to manually enter data into accounting systems and secondly we eliminate the expense of circulating paper documents to be approved and tracked.” Desi says: “An important lesson I learned at IBM was to always make your products and services different so you can’t be compared. Not just better, but different. The company sets itself apart by its high standard of delivering 99 per cent accuracy.” To achieve that, they developed their own software including OASIS and its automated data extraction software that reads and digitises data. As OASIS matures, the company is investing in overseas markets. “The idea is to grow our overseas business but serviced from New Zealand. Being an internet company, our team can work anywhere in New Zealand that has access to the internet. Teams can be located outside the main centres and regions like Taupō need employment for young people in the technology sector.” Desi, who emigrated from the UK, says her mother emphasised she should “do something” for the country. She says: “What I can do for New Zealand is create significant employment opportunities around the country.” She says there are many reasons they are looking at Taupō: “The council, through Enterprise Great Lake Taupō’s General Manager, Fritz Frohlke, is phenomenal in their passion about attracting businesses. Taupō is a great option for our business; plus our CFO and our IT team love to ski!”

Fritz Frohlke, General Manager, Enterprise Great Lake Taupō (EGLT) says that when Desi approached him, he made sure to follow up because hers is a high value business. “Although Desi chose Taupō because her directors love skiing, from our perspective, Power Business Services is a great match for the district.” EGLT’s core purpose is to work with businesses to facilitate opportunities for job creation. Fritz paved the path for Desi to quickly link to the appropriate Taupō business channels. He says: “She wanted to connect with local business so we introduced her to networks and her first 20 Taupō clients.” Fritz, who has had the role for three years, is often asked why it is necessary to attract business to the district. His response is that developing our economy is about ensuring affordability and sustainability for the community. “Communities expect councils to provide good-quality local infrastructure and facilities such as pools and libraries that enable them to enjoy a quality lifestyle. Those public services come at a price in the form of rates.”


Desi’s that offer technology jobs is a great incentive for people to come and stay.” “We are focused on attracting the right businesses to the region, that can offer meaningful career opportunities.” “We know that tourism, agriculture, forestry and geothermal are the Taupō district’s cornerstone industries,” Fritz says. “The most valuable one however, which is unique to our area, is the direct use of geothermal energy as demonstrated by the success of Miraka and Tenon.” The use of sustainable and cost effective energy is a worldwide issue, and the Taupō region is blessed with lots of it. This is what sets Taupō apart from any other region in New Zealand and Enterprise Great Lake Taupō is working to attract energy-reliant businesses to the region. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO:

He suggests that growing the ratepayer base and spreading rates across a greater number of people and businesses is one solution to managing rates affordability. Today, too, councils worry about the shrinking population base and the longterm economic impact as young people flee to cities for greater job options. “We need business enterprise to keep and attract people here. Businesses like RIGHT: Fritz' job is to facilitate opportunities for the district. ISSUE#01 G R E A T O P P O R T U N I T I E S . C O . N Z



Growing automotive brand distributing NZ wide STORY LIANNE FRASER


nland distribution hubs are a growing trend internationally. And SsangYong New Zealand, known for its innovation and quality vehicles at great value, leads the way in Taupō proving that a multi-million dollar business can flourish away from the main trunk line. In fact that’s the point. Well, one of the very sound reasons why father and son team, Rick and Deon Cooper invested $10 million to establish the distributorship in the central North Island. “The big brand motor vehicle distributors have around 1500 cars stored in Auckland,” Deon, Managing Director of SsangYong New Zealand, says. “They pay by the day per car.” With calculator poised he does the maths. “That’s around $1.6 million in storage a year. It’s nowhere near that price here, it’s just that people in Auckland haven’t woken up to that fact yet.”


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It’s the central North Island location with efficient links to the ports of Tauranga and Napier and all points south that makes Taupō an ideal distribution centre for a brand that’s going from strength to strength, overtaking Peugeot and chasing Subaru in vehicle sales. In 2010, 112 vehicles were sold. This year they’re on target to sell at least 1200. The Coopers are known for their enthusiasm in the motor vehicle industry. Twice mayor of Taupō, Rick has been involved in the motor trade for more than 40 years and there’s not much he doesn’t know about the business. SsangYong has a long history, too, first as the Ha Dong-Hwan Motor Workshop, established in 1954 in

South Korea. A range of incarnations followed, with Mercedes-Benz AG making a capital investment with SsangYong in the 1990s to create cooperation in technologies, management and distribution. SsangYong vehicles were launched in NZ in the early 2000s and in 2006, the Actyon Sports Ute was named Ute of Year by AA. In common with many international companies, the global financial crisis took its toll on SsangYong and in 2009 70 per cent was sold to Indian corporation Mahindra and Mahindra which has since invested heavily, most recently $900 million, in the company’s vehicle design and development. About the same time the Cooper’s

...100% kiwi owned enterprise, a fact of which the Coopers are clearly proud.

Taupō-based business, Great Lake Motor Distributors purchased SsangYong New Zealand, making it a 100 per cent Kiwi-owned enterprise, a fact of which the Coopers are clearly proud. They’re equally pleased with the significant contribution SsangYong makes to local economies, with 16 dealerships around the country. The Coopers believe in shopping local wherever possible and Taupō businesses definitely benefit from this principle. The recovery from the GFC has been positive and the SsangYong brand is well on its way to becoming a trusted household brand name in New Zealand. As well as being a quality and competitively priced product, the company has solid values, which Kiwis readily identify with. Trusted brand ambassadors, Sir Colin ‘Pinetree’ Meads and TV personality Leigh Hart came on board in 2012 and are enthusiastic about their relationship with SsangYong. The Actyon Sports Ute, the Rexton W and the Korando are all priced to meet the market and cost less than rival brands. New Zealanders like them and appreciate that they’re value for money. “Our SUV’s and Utes are tough, reliable and great value and with Sir Colin on board we’re confident we can show Kiwis that SsangYong is a brand they can trust and that we’re here to stay,” Deon Cooper says. SsangYong New Zealand and the Cooper family’s commitment to community is about developing futures and not just in the motor vehicle business. In 2012 the partnership with Sir Colin saw SsangYong New Zealand invest in grassroots rugby by supporting King

Country’s junior teams and in 2013 they upped the ante and sponsored the union’s premier team, now known as the SsangYong King Country Rams. Also a supporter of Taupō Half Ironman, LandSar and the Greenlea rescue helicopter the Coopers and SsangYong are indelible supporters of their community in Taupō and elsewhere, sponsoring motor racing and various sporting events. A family-friendly employer, SsangYong New Zealand has attracted staff from around the globe to Taupō and having relocated its parts and services and administration team from Auckland they’re finding Taupō’s lifestyle has great appeal – certainly no-one’s rushing back.

Why Taupō? The Coopers are passionate about Taupō and it’s potential for future growth. Deon grew up in the town, he went away for a short time and is happy to be back. Disadvantages? ‘Can’t think of any,’ Deon says. “We have work, life and family balance. Taupō is reliable; we’re five minutes from everything.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: BELOW: The team from left; Neil Hodgson, Rick Cooper, Dean Cooper, Sam Farr, Camilla Vartiainen, David Hancock, Amer Sheikh.

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Hospitality MEETS


Changes meet with approval STORY KYLIE HAWKER-GREEN


urchased 14 years ago by longstanding Taupō residents, John and Trish Funnell, Suncourt Hotel has become a key conference and accommodation destination for the Central North Island. General Manager Andrew Milne says the site has undergone huge redevelopment since its early days as a Lion Breweries hotel. “Back in the 1970s this was the place where locals came to swill a few beers after work in the public bar,” Andrew says. “The Lounge Bar was towards the lakefront for the ladies, while the boys were out the back. We still have all the underground tanks from those days, but nothing else has really remained.” More recent changes have seen rooms upgraded and refurbished to achieve Qualmark 4 star rating, and extensive redevelopment of the main building to create four multi-function conference rooms. “We know that people love coming to Taupō whether for work or play,” Andrew says.


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“The conference market is growing, and the Funnell family could see the potential return from investing further in this aspect of the business. Over the last two years we have completely remodelled our venue to accommodate up to 300 delegates, and now are the leading conference venue in the Taupō town centre.” With regular visitors returning annually to Suncourt, Andrew says it’s rewarding to hear them praise the changes made. “Our regulars have definitely noticed the improvements,” he says. “The new Mousetrap restaurant is proving a popular eating destination for both locals and hotel guests, and our regulars are loving the fresh décor in the rooms.” The accommodation sector is a critical contributor to the local Taupō economy, and Andrew plays his part by being actively involved in the Tourism Lake Taupō Advisory Group. “We’re a small community hosting many hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, so it’s imperative that

we all work together to ensure our guests have a great time in Taupō,” Andrew says. “Our events industry alone brings over 100,000 people to Taupō every year, and our retail and hospitality sector do a great job of ensuring they have a memorable experience. “At Suncourt, we’re totally focused on delivering on our promises to our customers, and our TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence demonstrates that we consistently achieve this goal.”


CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: Suncourt's location takes advantage of the awesome lakefront vista and proximity to town. Conference options are in every room – whatever your style. Suncourt general manager Andrew Milne. On site Restaurant and Bar The Mousetrap, overlooks the amazing views.

BREAKING NEW GROUND Industry leader doing things differently STORY LIANNE FRASER


errain, as its name implies, has everything to do with landscape. Originally established in 1983 as Taupō Rigging and Safety Services, this business has a backbone in forestry as well as most other cornerstone industries in the district. Walking into Terrain’s new purposebuilt showroom there’s more than a nod to the forestry industry – wood ply ceilings and walls, high up and hefty wooden beams and an impressive totara counter that would look resplendent in any pub. It has the WOW factor. The décor is just one point of difference of which owners Lisa and Mark Aldridge are proud. Terrain’s been an industry leader for years, supplying extensive ranges of wire rope, logging hardware, harvester chain, safety hi-vis clothing and personal protection safety equipment to the surrounding forestry, farming, construction and geothermal businesses. Their carefully displayed range of work boots is the biggest in New Zealand and new online sales are nudging into the Australian market, too. Logging might be the heartbeat of Terrain’s business, but diversification means they’re not reliant on one industry and can cope with the vagaries of commerce. Rebranding


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from its original name was a great leap of faith and one that Mark believes worthwhile. “I know what we’re good at and thought the best thing to do was trust the professionals,” Mark says. “We took their advice and customers still like us! Strong marketing is key.” Terrain is a business that looks after its customers and staff. The Terrain Wire Rope Warehouse next door to their showroom offers a 24/7 service to contractors in store and out in the bush – nationwide. It’s another point of difference and Mark understands the cost of downtime. “We understand that stoppages need to be at an absolute minimum – if a hauler breaks down in the bush we’ll travel to the site and get it fixed PDQ.” Mark and his staff have intimate knowledge of their products and while they're right up there with the latest technology, they still know how to hand splice steel ropes the traditional way. It’s obvious that Mark and his team have enormous job satisfaction and claims he’s loved the job every day since starting in 1995.


...he's loved the job every day since starting in 1995.


A great event venue with a difference STORY DEE WILSON


aupō’s $20 million Ricoh motorsport complex is much more than just a world class racetrack. The versatile venue on the outskirts of Taupō has the capacity to cater for any type or size of event or conference requiring hospitality suites, secure open space or stall/display areas. That includes conferences for 10 to 600 people, large concerts, sporting and music events, displays, swap meets, weddings, special occasions motor vehicle and product launches. Nine large hospitality suites with outdoor verandahs are sited on top of the pit lanes offering panoramic views over the race track, Mt Tauhara and rural countryside. Seven of the suites can be combined to seat up to 600 people at tables. (The suites have accommodated new cars brought in for a themed vehicle launch.) A fully equipped kitchen for self catering and wheelchair access to all levels are provided. Catering and alcohol can be arranged. A huge marquee space and a massive sealed area opens to wide open grassed space that is a natural amphitheatre. “It’s not just about racing,” CEO


Geoff Langham says. “We want to be on people’s lists of ‘great venues with a difference’. “While there is a full calendar of motorsport events, the facilities also make it a perfect venue for a huge range of other happenings.” Geoff, a former principal of a large franchise and license chain throughout Australia and New Zealand, says he used to constantly look out for conference venues with a ‘point of difference’. “We have the ultimate conference or event venue with one of the best known and highest graded motor racing tracks in Australasia,” he says. “Where else as part of your event

could you drive a V8 or singler-seater race car or enjoy Taupō’s most exciting jet boat ride, only five minutes away?” Geoff says Taupō is a wonderful destination with fantastic sights and adventure tourism that match Queenstown. “This venue is versatile, close to town, totally secure and there are very few events that we couldn’t accommodate,” he says. “Our staff will also help with packages to relieve the burden on conference organisers.” FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO:

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A REAL HOOT AT WOODY'S PLACE Unearthing creative talents


T ...the highlight is seeing people “blown away” by their own capabilities... CHRIS HOOTON

hink Taupō and you think adrenaline sports, ski fields and trout. Right? Wrong. Just outside of Taupō locals and visitors are turning their hands to woodwork and experiencing the arty side of Taupō’s activity scene. Welcome to Woody’s Place, a place that unearths the creative talents within even the most novice of visitors. The brain behind Woody’s Place is Chris Hooton, affectionately known as Woody. Chris’s love affair with wood began as a child when he was given a pocketknife as a gift. That early introduction saw an eventual career with wood emerge, initially as a tree surgeon and today as a teacher and artist in his own right. Woody’s Place was an idea that kept “brewing away” until the opportunity arose for Chris to open a workshop. He took it with arms wide open. Woody’s Place offers one to four day wood turning or woodworking courses for those ready to try their hand at something other than the region’s adrenaline activities. It’s a satisfying process. Chris says the highlight is seeing people “blown away” by their own capabilities and finished product. Since it’s inception in 2009, Woody’s Place has extended its services as now offers a full gallery experience. Chris has teamed up with local artists Troy Grimwood and Nancy Tschetner


and the trio are showcasing natural, sustainable and recycled artwork at the 3 Art gallery. Exciting changes are afoot, as the gallery looks set for a major expansion. The team also has plans in place to boost the profile of the gallery and the Taupō arts scene. “Being based in Taupō is all about location, location, location,” Chris says. “The biggest challenge facing Woody’s Place is that the arts in the Taupō region have not had the same following as other attractions, but with local artists forming the Taupō Art Connection we are hopeful of increasing awareness for arts in the Central Plateau.” Like most businesses, word-ofmouth is one of Chris’s greatest assets. Fortunately those words are far reaching. Native timber, hand crafted pieces have now made their way safely back to the Australia, the United States and the UK and closer to home, repeat customers are emerging. Keep a close eye on Woody’s Place and 3 Art over the next few months. There are big plans afoot and with Chris’s enthusiasm, art could soon become another serious draw card for visitors to the Taupō region.

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: TOP LEFT: Woody's Place includes an impressive gallery. CENTRE LEFT: Mary and Bob show off their handiwork. BOTTOM LEFT: Woody demonstrates the finer points of the craft.


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hey say every cloud has a silver lining and one Taupō man has helped many businesses find that silver by getting the best out of their computing infrastructure. Experienced software developer, John Curtis, was working at Weta Digital in Wellington in 2012 when he decided to move to Taupō. He had started his business, Kloud, a few years earlier and was ready to make the company a full-time venture. Now, he’s on a mission to help businesses find the best solution to their computing headaches while establishing a world-class software development company right here in Taupō. “I’ve learnt over the years that you can’t create software in a vacuum,”


John says. “It’s important to connect with local businesses, to see how they operate and meet the people behind them. It’s this experience that shapes successful software that people will want to use.” “One service we offer is to move businesses to cloud-based software, freeing them from complicated and expensive IT systems,” he says. ‘It enables them to be more mobile, reduces capital costs and provides a greater degree of security than their current setup. We’ve built quite a community of cloud users here in Taupō already.” John has also worked with a number of national businesses to develop cloud based software solutions tailored to their business

needs, and is clear proof that in a connected world you can live where you like and compete successfully. “Taupō, as it turns out, is a hub for entrepreneurs,” he says. “A lot of experienced business people settle here and the connections I’ve made offer some really interesting opportunities for new projects. A lot of great ideas these days require both accessibility and scalability. Kloud provides the software development to make these projects a reality and the power to take these projects to the world.” While pulling himself away from the buzz of Wellington was difficult, John said the move was “worth it”. His family had already been in Taupō for some time, enjoying the region’s relaxed lifestyle and John was excited to join them. “Taupō’s got a laid-back, affordable lifestyle. Great for raising a family and perfect for running a business like Kloud”.


the ...get savvy Marketing Strategy & Planning

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For a small town we punch well above our weight when it comes to events.


FOR GAP IN MARKET From the garage to the showroom STORY LISA LAITY


etting up your own business takes courage. Setting up an events business in a region that boasts the tagline “events capital of New Zealand” takes the nerve of Homer of legend, not Simpson! As the owner and operator of Taupō’s exclusive decorative hire and design company, Eventrent, Donna Inch is transforming the event theming world, one centerpiece at a time. It was a no brainer when she decided to take the leap into the event market and set up her own company in 2009. While employed as Events Manager at the Hilton Lake Taupō Donna saw a gap in the market for a decorative hire and design company. The wheels were set in motion. In 2009 Eventrent began operations, working out of Donna’s garage at home. Much has changed since the company’s early inception. Eventrent now operates from its showroom at 27 Miro Street and employs one full time staff member as well as additional part time staff over the busy summer season. As hire and design specialists they have a growing event portfolio including weddings, product and vehicle launches, gala dinners and business award evenings, school balls,


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corporate and charity events as well as children’s birthdays and other special occasions. “We understand that each event is unique and we take the time to understand our clients’ objectives, working to their requirements and budget,” Donna says. Weddings and events are Donna’s core market. She continually sets her sights on ways to expand this facet of the business. In 2011 she created online directory Taupō Weddings and Events which is designed to eliminate the hurdles for those planning events in the region. Taupō Weddings and Events offer a comprehensive portal for those planning their big day beside the Great Lake. Covering off hair and make up to stag and hen dos and everything in between, the website ensures that planning your ‘I do’s’ can be done from anywhere in the world at the touch of a button. “For a small town we punch well above our weight when it comes to events,” Donna says. “We have everything we need here as well as a picturesque, central location. I would like to see continued growth in the event industry moving forward.” Ensuring she stays ahead of the game is undoubtedly important, but this extends beyond her products

and services. Making the most of the resources on offer locally, Donna joined the Taupō Chamber of Commerce, attends Business After Five networking evenings and also signed up for the Business Mentors NZ programme through Enterprise Great Lake Taupō, a tool she says has proved invaluable. Eventrent shows no sign of slowing down. Most recently Donna has worked to compile a list of exclusive properties in the Lake Vista Collection, which are available for private hire. It’s her drive to continually expand and diversify that sets her apart. From a full set up and pack down service, event theming and design, floristry, wedding planning and event management capabilities, Eventrent



MIKE RIORDAN TAUPO BUSINESS MENTOR Pharmacist Mike Riordan owns Taupō’s Mainstreet Pharmacy and with a career spanning 12 years with multiple business ownership for the past six years, it’s easy to see why he is one of the mentors involved in the Business Mentors NZ Programme. “SME’s make up 97% of all business in NZ, they are an important part to the success of our economy and our beautiful country,” Mike says. “Our education system doesn’t support business management as part of its criteria. This leaves an educational void in business ownership and management, so this programme allows owner/operators access to knowledge/skills and experience via business mentors.”

has, in essence, eliminated the hurdles for those looking to plan an event in the Great Lake Taupō region and it’s delivering exactly what it promises. “We use our local knowledge and expertise to deliver events that surpass expectations,” Donna says. “It’s my job to remove the hassle and stress and deliver events that tick all the client’s boxes.”

Donna Inch has been working closely with her mentor, Mike, for the past 16 months and similarly agrees that the advice and extra set of eyes and ears are invaluable to her ongoing development. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Anne Battersby:

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: RIGHT: Donna has benefited enormously from the Business Mentors scheme with Mike Riordan (pictured) as her mentor.



THE POWER OF TWO Motivating physical achievements STORY LEOLA ABRAHAM


heir mantra is: move your body, empower your life. That saying underpins the Empower Fitness business and what began in a small room in the Totara Point Shopping Centre in 2009 is now the largest fitness facility in Taupō. The dynamic duo behind the business is husband and wife team Fiona Hulena-Green and Graham Green. From Dannevirke, they moved to Taupō five years ago with their two daughters specifically to open their own business. Fiona, who has more than 20 years experience in the fitness industry, never tires of helping others reach their goals. She says: “My passion is to inspire, motivate and empower staff and members to achieve their ambitions and instil positive, life changing beliefs.” Graham manages behind the scenes


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and also drives the RPM indoor cycling classes (13 classes per week) in a 35 bike studio. Fiona says that the biggest body transformations result from the Group Fitness and RPM studios. “It's like having a personal trainer. Participants are locked into a time slot and work so much harder than when they are left on their own.” With 24-hour access, Les Mills Group Fitness, 35 classes a week, personal training, a ladies only gym and a boxing studio, their members are spoilt for choice. It’s no wonder they received a highly commended in the small business category (2012) and won the NinetyBlack Best Service Business Award (2013) at the Great Lake Taupō Business Awards. They chalk their success up to their team of 25, being family-owned and listening to members.

At the end of the day we head to the lake. We love it! FIONA HULENA-GREEN

Fiona says: “We add value by investing in and developing a down-toearth team who deliver programmes with passion and professionalism. Being family-owned and operated means we can work intimately with members to deliver services they want.” She says that getting results maybe the reason people join a gym but the team, the place and the programmes are the reason they stay committed to feeling fitter, stronger and healthier. How do two people who manage a fitness business achieve balance? Fiona says: “At the end of the day we head to the lake. We love it!”



Mongolian Yurts find a new home in Taupō STORY LEOLA ABRAHAM


hen Ian Chamberlain travelled to New Zealand from the UK he came to Taupō and enjoyed the area so much he found work here as a carpenter. Fast forward 17 years and Ian’s dedication to carpentry continues. Ian and Gillian, his wife of 14 years, have grown a business with a reputation for providing top-quality building, renovation and hand-crafted furniture. “When I was an apprentice more than 30 years ago one of the joiners, who was 72, told me that he learnt a new thing every day. I took that on as a positive attitude to have, and always look for new opportunities,” Ian says. Recently, Ian turned his attention to Yurts. Imagine a cosy space, an oasis of calm and relaxation. The design is based on the traditional Yurt which, for thousands of years, has been the primary style


of homes in Central Asia, particularly Mongolia. It is a circular structure with no central pole, usually covered by layers of fabric or animal hide. Ian’s timber framed yurt is tailored to suit the New Zealand climate and his responsible choice of building materials is integral to the eco-friendly design. The double-glazed windows are made locally with aluminium joinery, the walls and roof frame are Douglas fir and the Greenstuf insulation is 100 per cent recycled polyester. He says the plantation grown Vitex hardwood timber for the floor joists took some time to find. The craftsmanship and eco-friendly materials give the yurt a good balance, making it ideal for a yoga room, art studio, office or stylish satellite accommodation. On any property, especially one with views, it’s perfect for rejuvenation. He says: “The yurt is


where you can go to relax, or create. The atmosphere generated by the circular frame is rather special.” Ian says he and Gillian love living in Taupō. "We chose this area as we felt it was a great place to raise a family, create a business and enjoy the many activities available on the doorstep. I'm surprised more businesses don't relocate here to avoid the traffic and create a better work-life balance."


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hink of it. A gruelling 50-hour working week erased by a hot thermal soak that relaxes and re-energises while healing and nourishing your skin using the forces of nature. Not your usual spa, the Wairakei Terraces provide bathing in hot mineral-enriched pools situated below silica terraces and alongside the Kiriohinekai stream which means ‘new skin’. The water and clays of Wairakei were highly valued by Māori for their healing powers and therapeutic benefits. In the 1930s, wealthy noblemen and women travelled from overseas to “take the waters” and would testify to the curative properties. Today’s custodians, Jim and Raewyn Hill, hold the long history of healing in high regard. Raewyn says Māori, who have a long tradition of natural holistic health practices and remedies, had identified the healing ‘powers’ in the water at Wairakei, that cured certain skin diseases and soothed muscular aches and pains. The valley in which Wairakei Terraces is located is called ‘Waiora’ meaning ‘healthy water’. Raewyn says this place was the quiet valley and was recognised by Māori as a place to heal spiritually and physically. “Even during tribal warfare this place was a ‘no war zone’, differences were put to the side and people were permitted to bathe in the waters to heal their wounds and to rejuvenate their mind and soul.” Driven by a commitment to reestablish these unique features to what they once were and for the benefit of all people has been a long-


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term goal for Jim and Raewyn. When the idea was presented to Jim in 1996, he could immediately visualise how this could work. The generating of power using underground geothermal energy had caused the loss of many features, but with the assistance of hapu, Contact Energy and the community, Jim and Raewyn have been able to restore some features that provide a window into what once existed there. One of the most valuable resources they have is the silica enriched fluid that is being piped onto their property from the Wairakei geothermal steam field. The other is people. Raewyn says: “The support we have received from people of all cultures has made our journey worth the effort.” Jim and Raewyn admit that they have endured challenges over the years but have held strong to their vision to create a world class tourism attraction while also creating opportunities for people in employment, education and now in health. The thermal pools and massage therapy was opened to the public in 2010 and is quickly becoming a favourite place for people to enjoy quiet rest and relaxation in a natural setting. Raewyn says: “This unique feature will also ensure our people continue to have access to the waters that healed and nourished our ancestors, and provided them with the rejuvenation of their mind, body and soul.”


The support we have received from people of all cultures has made our journey worth the effort. RAEWYN HILL

ABOVE: Wairakei Terraces is a place to not only experience local culture, but also to relax and enjoy the thermally heated waters.


Group creates social atmosphere


any young adults move to Taupō for employment opportunities in the professional, scientific, tourism and trades industries. With so many transient workers passing through town, however, Taupō can be a difficult place for young adults to meet people, socialise and feel “at home”. The Taupō Young Professionals (TYP’s) group was formed to provide a friendly, interactive, networking and social platform for young people. In the process, the TYP’s are also benefiting local businesses through the activities the group undertakes.


“We’re aiming to create a social aspect of living in Taupō, while trying to reduce the rate of young people flowing through our town by providing networking and social support for them,” TYP President, Mandy Everitt, says. Open to anyone and everyone young at heart, membership is not restricted. The group is a platform for young professionals in Taupō to meet new people for networking and socialising at regular meets, as well as at special events created for the group. The TYP’s agenda has been developed from a collaborative

platform involving all the members, that the committee (pictured above) has found to be largely directed at social events rather than professional speakers and training. “We are letting the young professionals of Taupō decide what they want the group to be. It has been made for them and we think this is why it is such a success,” Mandy says. In just over 10 months, the group’s Facebook page has grown to more than 300 members and continues to build.

FOR MORE INFORMATION SEARCH: "Taupo Young Professionals" on Facebook

Taupö Museum

Open daily 10am - 4.30pm (closed Good Friday & Christmas Day)

• • • • • • •

Gift shop Art galleries Kids activities Mäori treasures Taupö District stories Mäori meeting house Ora – Garden of Wellbeing

Adults $5 Seniors/Students $3 Children free Taupö District residents free with proof of address

Get The



Story Place, Taupö

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lyn Wooller, General Manager of the Waikato River Trails Charitable Trust and Putaruru Visitor Information Centre, loves what he does. Hailing from the Waikato, Glyn is connected to the area. His parents farmed in Horahora just across the river near the Waikato River Trails entrance and he married his high school sweetheart, Cathy. Following 17 years working in the dairy industry Glyn was looking for a new challenge, and found it. Three and a half years on – what started as a project constructing the 103km Waikato River Trail is now one with tourism, environmental and education benefits to the entire Waikato Region. The project is rooted in the community when in 2002 the community saw it as a way to create jobs. Since then, a near army of


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volunteers, including the trustees, have committed to the project. On November 5, 2011, following funding from The New Zealand Cycle Trail, which fast-tracked the project, Waikato River Trails opened to the public. The commitment extends to major sponsor Mighty River Power, supporters South Waikato District Council and Taupō District Council and several other trusts and community organisations which back the project. The Waikato River Trails project has also become an enabler for environmental enhancement and protection. Glyn says that the principal environmental sponsor, The Waikato River Authority and support sponsors Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust and South Waikato Environmental Initiatives Fund, provide funding for

planting trees to improve the riparian area. He’s rapt with the results. In 201112, volunteers planted 18,000 trees and will plant another 13,500 in 2013. School children will also be planting trees in the area and learning about their environment. But the core purpose of the trail is economic and social benefits for the community through visitation. One event that delivers is the Taniwha multi-sport event. In 2012, more than 800 participants biked, ran or walked among the splendour of the Waikato River Trails and more are expected this year. Glyn reveals that he’s thrilled by the project’s inter-connectedness. “There’s nothing like seeing a tree you’ve planted start to mature and become part of an environment for visitors to connect with and realising that those visitors contribute to the economy which sustains our community.”




s a former pupil of Taupō-nuia-Tia College you would be forgiven for doing a double take as you drive past the Spa Road school these days. Much of the school’s street facing exterior has changed, most noticeably the addition of the spacious and rather grand Design and Innovation Centre. Officially opened in May, 2012, by Prime Minister John Key, the centre replaced three existing buildings which had racked up an impressive combined 50 years service at the school. The building offers students a 21st century learning environment covering all technology, visual arts and design subjects. The ground floor houses the Food Technology suite comprising seven kitchens, a hospitality suite (with seven commercial kitchens) a barista room, a theory space for students to work in a clean environment for the academic component of their studies, engineering and resistant materials workshops and machinery areas, textiles studio as well as office


facilities for staff. Three digital technology labs, two visual art classrooms, three design spaces and associated computer facilities for visual art, digital photography as well as CAD for design and visual communication occupy upstairs area. Digital technology in the building is a major focus and includes IT facilities for support staff including the school’s server technology. The college has one of the largest IT infrastructures in the Taupō community and in 2012,

the building was connected to the government’s high speed internet initiative. College staff and Board of Trustee members were actively involved throughout the design and construction process working alongside Ignite Architects from both Auckland and Tauranga. Strong local references are obvious in the building’s design with links to Tūwharetoa iwi and Huka Falls. Further developments will continue next year with the opening of a modern learning environment within the English Faculty and plans are also underway for a new Performing Arts Centre.


Great Lake Shuttles provide mountain biking transport and shuttle services to all the popular mountain biking tracks and trails in the Taupō region including Wairakei Forest or Craters mountain bike Park; Huka Falls or Waikato River Trails; W2K – Whakaipo to Kinloch; Kawakawa Bay and The Great Lake Trail. To enquire about the shuttle service, hire a bike or book a pick-up, phone 021 656 424, email, or visit

Grown in Taupō, fresh and healthy ‘Marty’s Microgreens’ are found on menus around the Taupō district. Marty's Microgreens kits come with all you need to help your plants thrive, making it easy to have access to fresh produce in your own home. Not to mention that microgreens have a host of disease preventing properties including vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. To pick up a supply of Marty’s Microgreens or a kit for growing at home, visit him every Saturday morning at the Taupō Riverside Market, phone 07 377 2528 or 021 254 4620 or email

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RIVERS The Tongariro River is the largest and most important spawning river in the Taupō District. Each year an estimate is made of how many fish run the river to spawn, and this gives an indication of the health of the fishery.

TROUT CENTRE AT END OF RAINBOW Fishing’s El Dorado in Taupō area



he Lake Taupō area is synonymous with trout, with Turangi the long considered ‘Trout Fishing Capital of the World’. Building on this rich heritage, the Tongariro National Trout Centre offers visitors a unique educational experience that provides ample opportunities to learn more about these iconic fish in their natural habitat. Established in 1927, and set alongside the famous Tongariro River, the centre boasts an extensive museum that documents the history of the area and the evolution of trout fishing since early settlers first arrived in the central plateau area. Operated in partnership with the Department of Conservation, an onsite hatchery rears fish for the children’s fishing pond, which is opened for children to perfect their fishing techniques on regular occasions throughout the year. The hatchery also fulfils a vital role as a safe guard


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for the fishery – should some disaster, like a major volcanic eruption, wipe out the wild fish, the hatchery can be used to restock the streams and lake. Visitors to the centre can also see and feed wild trout in their natural environment, as well as viewing many of New Zealand's native fresh water fish in the Genesis Energy Fresh Water Aquarium. “Visitors to the centre often pop in without understanding what we are about,” Kevin Farrington, Tongariro National Trout Centre Manager, says. “They find themselves spending a couple of hours here wandering the pathways and exploring the various exhibitions and things on offer. They always leave with a smile and a better understanding of the life and times of the humble trout!”


The Tongariro is well known all over the world for the fishing opportunities it provides. Ever since Zane Grey fished the river and promoted it in his book "Angler’s El Dorado” in the 1920s, the river has gained a reputation as a world-class river to fish for prime rainbow and brown trout. Today, on any one day in the spawning season, over the winter period in NZ, up to 80 or more anglers can be seen fishing the pools of the Tongariro. The Tongariro National Trout Centre is nestled beside the river and the displays at the centre help to provide visitors with information on river fishing and the history of fishing in the area. Other popular rivers to fish around Taupō are the Hinemaiaia River at Hatepe, the Tauranga-Taupō River and the Waitahanui. The Taupō District provides plenty of streams and tributaries that flow into these rivers and all combine to provide trout with outstanding spawning habitat, and protected areas for rearing young fish.

People come to us for our ideas and our work ethic. DONNÉE MURRAY


Graphic design outside the big smoke? LEFT: Meet the 'Good Girls'. From left, Laura Miller, Penny Egerton and Donnée Murray.



t’s another Kiwi garage success story. One pixel at a time, Good Graphic Design has been quietly building a small empire from their backyard studio, two blocks up from Lake Taupō. Ticking off their first year of operations with the Strettons Small Business of the Year Award at the 2012 Great Lake Taupō Business Awards, they will soon be moving out of home and into their own premises. Libby O’Brien asks the ‘Good Girls’ a few questions ahead of the move. You say that ‘Good Design is Good for You’ – what makes it so damn good? People come to us for our ideas and our work ethic – we work pretty hard for our clients and they appreciate it. We also walk the line between design studio and creative agency, which reflects the level of design thinking in our team. We’re more


than just graphic designers – we write a lot of copy and come up with concepts for ads which is a process we really enjoy – but we still do a lot of brand and publication work. Quality design really is good for your business, and that’s what we want for our clients. What’s the most memorable feedback you’ve had from a client? “I haven’t felt this excited about a logo in a long time” – that was pretty nice. Also, (at the time of the interview) we found out that some of our design work was a contributing factor in one of our clients winning a major Australian award in their industry. It’s awesome to know that you can make that kind of a difference. Are there any disadvantages to operating outside of the big cities? I think there are more advantages to be honest. Our new location will be even closer to the lake than we are now and I

can be at the printers doing a press-pass in two minutes. We have a lot of local clients, but we also have clients around NZ and overseas. With the digital tools we have, we can work from anywhere. If you weren’t a graphic designer what would you all be doing with your life? Donnée: Riding horses, coming up with ideas and travelling to all the places in the world that no-one has heard of. Penny: Strange as it sounds I think I’d be an appraiser on the antiques roadshow! Laura: Travelling photographer for National Geographic for sure… What’s the best piece of advice you have received? Everything you do, do it to the best of your abilities. That pretty much sums up the ethos of our company. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO:

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s the Member of Parliament for Taupō I would like to thank you for taking the time to look though Great Opportunities Taupō. This magazine highlights the many features the Taupō region has to offer to visitors, and to those who are lucky enough to live here. Taupō is the largest jewel in the Central Plateau’s crown and with its central location, great facilities and wonderful climate it’s the perfect hub to base your family or business. Or both! Being centrally located in the middle of the North Island means ocean beaches are a short drive away, ski fields are just down the road and the big smoke of Auckland is just over three hour’s drive. With the Waikato Expressway now under construction, it won’t be long before driving north to Hamilton or Auckland take even less time out of your day. It is always very exciting to witness the range of events that Taupō hosts each year and I think the region has definitely earned the title of


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Events Capital of New Zealand. From international sporting events such as Ironman New Zealand and the iconic Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge to from the annual Taupō Summer Concert featuring acts such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pat Benatar and The Doobie Brothers, there aren’t many weekends that go by without a major event to get the town buzzing. We have everything right on our doorstep; World-class trout fishing, mountain bike tracks including the Waikato River, Timber and Great Lake cycle trails, breath-taking scenery you never get tired of and a bustling retail centre with over 200 stores. (And the parking is free!) As well as being a great place to live and play, Taupō is a hot bed of industry and is perfectly set up to cater for businesses to be based here. From dairy to forestry, geothermal industry to retail and tourism, Taupō is experiencing real growth with many businesses choosing to take advantage of our natural resources. Why live in a big city when you can have a laid-back

quality of life without traffic jams right here in paradise? I made the move from Auckland some years ago and the lifestyle is perfectly laid back. I love living in the Taupō District and I know you and your family would too. Come and join us. You’ll love it here.



see a place fish swim


pools, dodging


golf balls, rapids and


Where you’ll find



boaties and people

jumping from the sky. A giant


where the big

kids and the little kids play

together on a volcanic plateau. Come see




Scan me! Everyone needs a holiday from time to time. Chat to our friendly i-SITE staff in Taupö and Turangi or go online for great deals and advice, all year round.

GO Magazine (Great Opportunities) Nov 2013  

Great Opportunities is an annual Business & Lifestyle magazine that profiles why Taupo is a great place to live, work and play.

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