Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Puzzling World shares forty years of memories

Media Release from Puzzling Wold Wanaka

December 19 2013

Puzzling World shares forty years of memories

Click for big version.

Duncan Spear, Heidi Landsborough, Jan Clark, Stuart Landsborough and Coleen Landsborough celebrate 40 years of Puzzling World

A Wanaka tourism business that has wowed more than three million customers from all around the globe has celebrated its 40th anniversary in retro ‘seventies’ style.

When Puzzling World pioneers Stuart and Jan Landsborough, having been refused a loan from the bank, sold their house to buy seven acres of barren land and build a1km maze, many questioned their rationale.

Six weeks, 12,000 wooden planks and a lot of hard graft later, ‘The Maze’ opened on the outskirts of Wanaka just in time for the 1973/74 summer holidays. In its first year, charging 50c for adults and 25c for children, it welcomed 17,600 people.

Four years later, the Puzzle Centre was established – with just one table and five puzzles. Between 1985 and 1988 Stuart travelled around the world designing and building twenty-five 3-D ‘Supermazes’ in Japan, USA and Australia.

More innovations followed thick and fast – half a kilometre of passages and over-bridges were added to the maze, the Puzzle Centre was extended and the first illusion rooms were added.

Roman ‘trompe l’oeil’ toilets made them possibly the most photographed loos in New Zealand, in 1999 came the famous Leaning Tower of Wanaka and more illusion rooms followed.

In 2004 Stuart retired and handed the reins over to daughter Heidi and son-in-law Duncan Spear. Innovations continued in 2012 with the addition of the $2.5m Sculptillusion Gallery, a large room featuring over 20 large sculptures, artworks and displays complete with Living Walls, wave ceilings, stone carpet and hanging waterfalls.

Mr Spear said Puzzling World’s vision for continued innovation and development in line with its philosophy of ‘puzzling eccentricity’ meant it continued to grow in popularity.

“As we celebrate our 40th anniversary we simply have to pay tribute to Stuart’s dedication to and passion for the business which we’ve been lucky enough to carry on in his name,” he said.

At the anniversary party, resplendent with 70’s style drinks along with prawn cocktails, rolled lamb roast and fondues that harked back to the beginnings of the iconic tourist venture, Heidi Landsborough told more than 80 guests how special it had been to “grow up with a maze in my back yard” and to witness how “strange ideas” had created a world unique attraction.

“Duncan and I are extremely proud to manage the business to ensure my parents’ vision is carried through to the next generation,” she said.

“We’re dedicated to continued re-development and investment in the business, and the current growth in traffic from emerging Indian and Asian markets in particular is testament to the attraction’s reach across all nationalities.

“This year Puzzling World has launched some incredible new innovations including New Zealand’s first permanent Holoboxx hologram and the first Virtual Assistant display explaining where to go and what to see in the business.”

Guests at the function included staff from the very earliest days together with long-standing suppliers, contractors, past staff and family who all helped achieve the 40 year milestone.

Stuart Landsborough talked of the struggle to establish ‘The Maze’ business in the early days.

“We were working in a climate of oil crises, farming subsidy removals, no ground water and a perception locally that what we were creating was ‘crazy’,” he said.

“But now as we celebrate 40 years and see what we’ve established for the tourism industry locally and nationally I’m proud to see continued development by the next generation, as I’d never have had the courage to build anything so incredible.”

In a fitting tribute, a cake brought out to celebrate the 40th anniversary carried a partial replica of the matchstick maze he and Jan created to help gain planning permission to build their dream all those years ago.  

Click for big version.

The original Wanaka Maze in the early days


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home.

To the US, drones are a legitimate response to the threat posed by the al Qaeda organisation and its franchisees... To the US, the drones carry the added advantage of not putting US troops at risk on the ground, and minimises the need for putting them in large numbers in bases in the countries concerned, always a politically sensitive point.

The counter-argument, well articulated by security analyst Paul Buchanan on RNZ this morning, is that this particular drone attack can be said to amount to an extra-judicial execution of a New Zealand citizen by one of our military allies, in circumstances where the person concerned posed no threat to New Zealand’s domestic security. More>>


Parliament Today:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>


Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>


Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>


Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>


With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>


Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>


Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news