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Reminder of Queenstown’s vibrant heritage

Media release from Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

16 April 2008


Local painting an historic reminder of Queenstown’s vibrant heritage

Long-time Queenstown artist Lloyd Veint today (16 April) unveiled a significant piece of local history in the Novotel Queenstown Lakeside entrance lobby.

Ninety-four-year-old Mr Veint, a born and bred Queenstowner, revealed a copy of his painting of the old Buckhams Brewery which stood on the hotel’s historic site from 1862 until 1978. 

The painting depicts the Malthouse, Cottage and Brewery as it stood more than a century ago.

The painting and lakefront site hold particular significance for Mr Veint, who married into the Buckham family 72 years ago.

“I’ve painted many scenes of the region over the years but this one has always been a favourite,” he said.  ”I’ve fond memories of spending time at Buckhams with my wife and her family.

“I remember the fuss caused when it was knocked down to make way for the hotel so I’m happy that Novotel guests can see now see my painting and get a sense of the site’s history,” said Mr Veint, whose family has lived in the region since the early 1800s.  Veint Crescent in Queenstown was named after his ancestors.

Novotel Queenstown Lakeside Executive Assistant Manager Clinton Farley said the hotel was delighted to purchase the painting.

“Our focus is to showcase local artists and their works and Mr Veint’s Buckham painting represents a very important piece of our history so we’re absolutely thrilled to have it.”

The Buckham’s Brewery site is well known for its colourful history. In 1965, the three-quarter acre property was bought from the Buckhams by the Government for a Tourist Hotel Corporation (THC) 120-bed hotel.

Queenstown Borough Council approved the proposed hotel on the site, but plans were abandoned for political reasons.

In the early 1970s a consortium of the Mount Cook and Southern Lakes Tourist Company, Shaw Savill and Dominion Breweries tried but failed to win approval for a hotel on the site that also incorporated some Park Street reserve land.  Some 1,343 objections were raised in response to the proposed commercial use of reserve land, thwarting any progress until 1973, when THC took over the property again.

In the intervening years various debates raged – should the Malthouse be preserved or was it appropriate to fragment the site and effectively sell chunks of Queenstown’s history? Then, to the disgust of many locals, in 1978 the 106-year old Malthouse was mysteriously demolished overnight, allegedly at the instruction of THC.

Later that year, a trio of developers bought the site to build a small luxury hotel, but by 1984 nothing had progressed. The new Labour Government, determined to correct Queenstown’s shortfall of top-class tourist accommodation, then authorised THC’s repurchase of the site for around $2 million.

Work on THC’s $30 million, 150-room hotel on the Buckham’s/Survey Street area began in September 1986 and doors opened to guests in December 1987.  Prime Minister David Lange officially opened the hotel on 30 January 1988.

Accor bought the property in 2003, recognising the building’s potential in the market to add more rooms and improve infrastructure.  To capitalise on its unique location and absolute lake frontage on the shores of Lake Wakatipu it was renamed Novotel Gardens Queenstown. 

The hotel’s 2007 $13.5 million makeover makes it Queenstown’s largest hotel, with 273 rooms. It is also New Zealand’s largest Accor-owned property. 




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