My Life Story
She’s rubbed shoulders with global leaders, been Mum to five kids, two times mayoress, motelier, and wife of a NZ Cabinet Minister, but somehow Lorraine Cooper got it all done with graciousness and calm. Now 86, it’s fair to say she was a superwoman in her day.
Stuart Maclean was one of Queenstown’s tourism leaders back in the day, having arrived in 1969 at 26, as an NZI insurance salesman from Invercargill.
He’s an entertainment icon, playing ukelele publicly from age seven, backing NZ’s leading 1960s and 70s stars and even jamming with singer-actress Bette Midler.
Born into a strong Kiwi rugby culture, Queenstown’s ‘Ferg’ Ferguson was knocking on the door of a long-held All Black dream when injury put paid to his rugby career.
Arriving in NZ by ship at two, little Rezi Gousmett and her, then single, Latvian mum were refugees fresh from a post-World War II ‘Displaced Persons’ Camp’ in Germany.
We have him to thank for leading the charge to preserve the beautiful central Queenstown Park Street Reserve and protecting the district’s outstanding natural landscapes, and, at 72, Greg Thompson is still advocating for the local environment.
Born into a legendary Wakatipu high country station family, Joy Veint enjoyed a fabulous outdoor childhood growing up on beautiful Mount Aurum Station at Skippers. Her runholder father, ‘Mick’ Sarginson, was renowned locally for his tenacity tackling the rugged and remote sheep station from 1957 until 1969.
Growing up in West Auckland across the road from Barry Crump, Jeff Hylton would later become Crump’s late 1970s pool partner at Queenstown’s Arthur’s Point Pub.
He may be driving the local school bus and tour coaches these days, but acclaimed Queenstown chef Grant Jackson has cooked for dignitaries like former US President Bill Clinton, and trained some of NZ’s best chef exports.
She’s now passing on a lifelong passion for poetry and reading to future generations with works published and the first of her plays performed locally this week, but Wendy Clarke’s talents haven’t always been recognised.
She launched into life from a small town Southland upbringing to a love story and life trajectory that before long would see her delight in being immersed into both Maori and Japanese culture. Maree Aoake took it all in her stride.
She’s been Queenstown’s queen of the stage for 30 years, bringing a little taste of her Broadway hometown of New York City to small town NZ. In that time, Margaret O’Hanlon’s directed, produced, written or performed in some 20 local shows and taught upwards of around 500 local singers, some now taking the world stage.
An unwavering advocate for Queenstown’s tourism industry during his 36 years here, John MacDonald has left his stamp on the place, going to great lengths to enhance Queenstown’s reputation.
They don’t come much more ‘local’ than Frankton farmer Bill Grant, who was driving the tractor while his dad fed out hay from age four, through much harsher winters than we have now.
He may be one of Queenstown’s most legendary hospitality icons and restaurateurs, but these days Bruce Leitch is iconic for his own catch of the day.
He may be a 4th dan black belt in karate, but Craig McLachlan’s more renowned locally for his soft, gentle side and beaming smile.
He’s negotiated the craggy Shotover River canyons and the shallow Dart River braids at speed for 40 years, taking thousands of thrillseeking tourists on the jet boat ride of their lives.
Hailing from one of NZ’s most famous sporting families, little brother Greg wasn’t about to be beat. Born in Dunedin in 1963, Greg Turner’s older brother Glenn – 16 years his senior, was captaining the NZ Cricket Team, while Brian, almost 20 years older was playing hockey for NZ.
When you’re the eldest of nine kids it’s all about pitching in and being organised, something Jan Maxwell has modelled her life on. A busy mother of five, Jan grew up in Gore in a happy blended family, after her first father died when she was five. Theatrics and music were in the blood with Jan’s mother a talented ballerina and choreographer.
They say you can’t keep a good man down and Queenstown’s veteran of off road adventure Denis Columb wasn’t going to let a broken neck, broken back, a sharemarket crash, or cancer keep him from his off road motorbike passion.
WHY ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS WITH US
The Lakes Weekly is part of Queenstown Media Group (QMG).
QMG is Queenstown’s leading locally owned and operated media company with print, online and social platforms that engage locals with what they care about — everything local!
The Lakes Weekly delivers stories and news that connects with local so they come away each week better connected to their community. Advertising sits within this curated content environment, and it’s a trusted relationship between readers and the Lakes Weekly. Advertisers benefit from the association with the LWB brand values.
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.