Chilly changes

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

His wardrobe might not have re­flected it, but John Duxbury is more than pre­pared for his new role as The Gate’s new gen­eral man­ager.

Duxbury left his job man­ag­ing a 220-bed re­sort in Fiji to take over from Glen Chris­tiansen as man­ager at The Gate in Cromwell about a month ago.

He had lit­tle need for merino and ther­mals, hav­ing spent the past three years in the South Pa­cific, so one of his first tasks mov­ing from sunny beaches into a Cen­tral Otago win­ter was to go shop­ping.

While he had not pre­pared his wardrobe for the change in cli­mate, he worked in Queenstown for 13 years and spent hol­i­days in the re­gion so he knows what he is in for.

‘‘We had three years in the South Pa­cific and de­cided we wanted to come home to look af­ter the fam­ily and this po­si­tion came up.

‘‘We love Cen­tral Otago and I used to come to Cromwell when I was a young kid for hol­i­days and jumped at the chance to have the op­por­tu­nity to live in a re­ally spec­tac­u­lar part of the world.’’

Duxbury has had 32 years in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, 17 of which have been spent as a gen­eral man­ager.

‘‘I think it has got huge po­ten­tial. When I saw the job

John Duxbury

ad­ver­tised I knew the prop­erty and knew what op­por­tu­ni­ties it had and how much it has got to of­fer and to grow the busi­ness.’’

There had been a lot of in­creased in­ter­est from over­seas in­bound tour op­er­a­tors since the re­brand­ing.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously, the glut in Queenstown helps us, but rather than tak­ing the over­flow from Queenstown we want to es­tab­lish our own des­ti­na­tion. I would rather have our own mar­ket so if Queenstown is say­ing, ’we are over­flow­ing’, I can say ‘well sorry, we are full as well’.’’

‘‘The staff have re­ally wel­comed me and you can tell they have a sense of own­er­ship of this place...There are a lot of long stand­ing staff who love their jobs and have been here quite a while which helps in that tran­si­tion.’’

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