Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Air New Zealand Wine Awards in Queenstown!

Last weekend I attended the Air New Zealand Wine Awards in Queenstown. This was the first time the awards had been held in Queenstown and  they proved to be a real success. Of course, Central Otago is renowned  for its wine production, particularly Pinot Noir and with the beauty of Central Otago , the ability to get close to the source of some outstanding wines, the food prepared by  Peter Gordon and the excellent functionally of the Queenstown Events Centre - they really pulled it off!.
However what is even more  impressive  was the  quality of the New Zealand wine  offering. Right across the range, we now produce world class wines. Some of the longstanding wine producers such as Villa Maria  starred, but so did some of the smaller boutique producers who are making relatively small volumes of wines  of outstanding quality.

Air New Zealand  has been the principle sponsor of the Awards since their inception and it is exciting to see the integration of International tourism, wineries and food as part of the unique New Zealand offering.

I was surprised to learn that sustainability is high on  the winegrowers agenda with 96% of the medal winners certified as sustainable; which is interpreted as 'delivering excellent wine, to consumers in a way that  enables the natural environment, the businesses involved and the communities  to thrive'.

It was so good to see we can stand up and be counted anywhere in the world with our increasingly valued wine offering.

Nautilus Cuvee Brut NV

Villa Maria Reserve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2012

Click here to view all the winners.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Hillary Institute of Leadership 2013 Laureate Dinner

This week I had the pleasure of attending the Hillary Institute of Leadership 2013 Laureate Dinner.

The 2013 Hillary Laureate is Atossa Soltani who was awarded the Laureate for Exceptional Mid-Career Global Leadership in Climate Equity.

Atossa has worked for over two decades with Indigene in the Amazon Basin, fighting to protect their homelands, the Amazon Basin, and the “Lungs” of our planet. The Amazon Basin is the most bio diverse place on the planet and is truly under threat. Compromising the Amazon Basin destroys the habitat of Indigenous peoples and has a very serious impact on world climate.

Atossa has a wonderful story to tell about her work with Amazon Watch. I strongly suggest you have a look at  her website www.amazonwatch.org.

She is an impressive world leader and a worthy recipient of the 2013 Hillary Laureate.

Atossa finished her address with the following quote from Alberto Villoldo.

As soon as you awaken to the power you have, you begin to flex the muscles of your courage. Then  you can dream bravely: letting go of your limiting beliefs and pushing past your fears

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Housing progress in the Christchurch rebuild

I have just  received up-to-date information of the insurance status of houses to be rebuilt or repaired in Christchurch.

According to the Insurance Council of New Zealand there are 24,660 over-cap (damage in excess of $100,000) houses subject to a repair or a rebuild in the Insurance companies portfolios. We think that number is light, but even if that is the number, what is startling is the high number of cash settlements the Insurance Industry statethey have settled or anticipated to be settled.

According to their figures there are currently 10,000 properties where cash settlements have been concluded and a further 2,600 where a cash settlement is probable. Now, that is a total of 12,600 over cap properties  where the control of the rebuild has been transferred from the Insurance Company to the policy holder.

That means a lot activity in the future will be in the hands of  individuals, which we as a community need to be prepared for.  I think this realistically means an avalanche of cash flowing into our community in the first two  quarters of 2014 as repairs and rebuilds of housing stock gather momentum.

In analysing the Insurance council’s figures and including EQC liabilities and payouts made, it looks like we can all agree that the total damage to housing stock won’t be far away from the rule of thumb estimate of 60% of the total damage. If that total is $40 billion then we are looking at around $24 billion for all housing damage. That is an enormous amount of cash, most of which is destined to flow back into greater Christchurch.
Get prepared!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Tekapo goes Trippo!

Last Friday I attended the grand opening of 'The Trippo' at Tekapo Springs, on the shores of beautiful lake Tekapo.

The Trippo is one of the largest inflatable slides in the world, 11 metres high, 53 metres long and with three chutes for full on fun! It is perfectly positioned on the Tekapo Springs ice skating rink to ensure full utilisation of the rink space, year round.

It is a great new attraction and guaranteed to be a big hit with the kids. It adds to a the other superb offerings Karl Burtscher and his team have created at The Springs.

Next time you are heading to, or through, Tekapo make time to visit The Trippo. You will not be disappointed.