My Life Story
Johnny Stevenson learned a hard work ethic growing up in a Southland dairy farming family – one that paid off.
He ran the main engine room of Queenstown for 20 years and kept the wheels turning – a born and bred local.
From dancing with the king to tending the wounds of celebrities, former Queenstown Plunket and maternity nurse Penny Wallace has enjoyed some high-flying days.
Tim Hunter always wanted to fly and fly high he did, not only in airplanes but in a 40-plus year tourism and aviation career.
She moved to Queenstown at just 17, spending the next 40 years working her way up the hospitality ladder from hotel housemaid to owner of multiple restaurants.
Chris Blackford has spent a lifetime trying to retain law and order, starting out with some high postings for the British Army.
From Ranfurly to Norway and back to Arrowtown, raising five kids and prize angora goats along the way, dabbling in retail, real estate and journalism, Jan Spary took it all in her stride.
There’s been many a high note in Alison Price’s 30-year-plus high school music teaching role, and while some of her past Wakatipu High School students may now have their names in lights, the little victories are the most memorable.
When Steph Drader arrived in Queenstown back in 1985, the local real estate industry was “pretty much a blokes’ reign”, she says.
He’s had the odd mishap in almost 40 years of Queenstown adventures, but thankfully veteran rafting and parapenting guide Paul van der Kaag has escaped unscathed.
She arrived in Queenstown in 1975, coincidentally the founding International Women’s Year. By 1986 Kirsty Sharpe had polled second highest - one of just three women among 20 candidates, on the newly amalgamated Queenstown Lakes District Council.
The Wakatipu backcountry has been Ian Todd’s playground since his Scottish family emigrated to New Zealand in 1967, where his parents bought Junction Hotel, later named Arthur’s Point Pub.
Her white starched veil, bowling shoes and stockings – seams strictly straightened down the back, and armed with ‘Ooky Spooky’ ghost puppets, was a scary enough sight for most schoolchildren. Little wonder it took much cajoling and consoling to get her child clients into her office, renowned as ‘The Murder House’, and into that formidable tilt-back chair.
Cheryl Collie has always had the music in her. From the age of six learning piano with the Convent nuns in Riverton, as a family it was “just what we did”.
Erina McLean’s been turning heads with her unique fashion style since rolling into town on her honeymoon in 1970, dressed in stiletto heels and a big picture hat.
He’s one of the country’s foremost botanists and ecologists, his vast knowledge still drawn on nationally as a conservation consultant, and still roaming the backcountry, despite turning 90 this month (August 21).
He’s been one of the region’s leading Search and Rescue [SAR] volunteers and a top NZ heli-ski guide with 42 years’ experience. With a CV stretching the length of the South Island, Russell Carr’s never been one for ‘just another day at the office’.
In a cost-of-living crisis Kiwi American backcountry adventurer Jef Desbecker is just the guy you need around. A self-professed ‘professional ski bum’ in his younger days, Jef wound his way all over the US using skills and savvy he’d learned along the way to carve a lifestyle on snow and rivers.
At 76, Dennis Deavoll could still be mistaken for a bit of a bad boy biker, rocking it with the best, but really, he just loves to live life to the full…and a little bit on the edge.
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The Lakes Weekly is hand delivered to every business in Queenstown, Arrowtown, Frankton, Five Mile Remarkables Park and Glenda Drive on Tuesday. Copies are available in service stations, libraries and drop boxes throughout the region and every supermarket throughout the Queenstown basin and Wanaka.
Online the issue is available Monday afternoon, on lwb.co.nz and the Qtn App.