The Need
The Feasibility for a Community Hub
Feasibility StudyQLDC case Study

Why the need for a Hub?

Media portrays Queenstown as bursting at the seams with growth, glitz, glamour and wealth. Many wealthy do choose to holiday here, reside or have a holiday home here.

However this is not always the case for many local resident population that supports this booming tourism and construction industries  many are on lower than the national average wage and crammed into poor standard housing with little or no support. A big proportion of residents do not have extended family or parents living near by (or even living within the same country) to help with childcare, or support them through mental health or illness. With the average rent a huge chunk of a weekly salary, the pressure for both parents to work is high to pay their above high rents or service increasing large mortgages.

The Whakatipu basin has grown exponentially and is projected to continue on the same trajectory. As a result there are very limited community facilities available for groups to meet in.  The same is especially true for the social sector too. Commercial rents for offices are cost prohibitive preventing many charitable organisations entering the market and as a result many are currently based further afield in Cromwell, Dunedin or Invercargill.

The organisations that are here to support the growing community have often outgrown current offices or operate from buildings originally built as holiday homes which are cold, small, dark, damp and over crowded and unsuitable with high and ever increasing rents.

As in the unaffordable housing markets in Queenstown, the Social Sector are at the mercy of the landlord, and developers and often have no long term security to operated from.  In addition staff retention in these traditionally low paid roles, is not helped with current poor working conditions and offices with limited parking or access.

The hub aims to solve this with modern, fit for purpose places of employment with good transport access, parking, modern facilities and above all security with a permanent home alongside other agencies and  community facilities.

Who Benefits from the Hub?

No one ever plans to get divorced, terminally sick or involved in an abusive relationship, but it happens! Just because Queenstown has beautiful mountains and tranquil lakes does not mean the community is immune to post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, anti-social behaviour and family harm poverty and isolation.

Fortunately there are many charities and social entities to help in these times of need but having them accessible and in Queenstown is not always an option. The hub will provide a permanent home for these.

Similar hub concepts are very popular and successful in other places in New Zealand. In fact every hub the Trust researched, have all noticed an increased awareness and use of the social help available,  since merging in one central location.

The added benefit is that it creates a place of collaboration and cross pollination for staff and users alike. Organisations get to share resources and facilities (training, wifi, meeting rooms, kitchen etc)  Each organisation that occupies space in the Hub, will be able to spend their resources on the community / individuals they set out to serve.

The urgency

QLDC published a case study in 2019 which highlighted the dire situation many organisations were in. At the same time founder John MacDonald created the Trust and with the other Trustees and the financial help of Patrons Dick and Diane Hubbard, the Trust commissioned a feasibility study which echoed the study from QLDC.

The situation since then has got worse, in fact since these studies, the local population has grown. The same entities that were interested in being part of a hub then, are now renting on borrowed time and only able to renew rents on an annual basis with no security for their future.

Covid19 further reinforced the need for a hub.  It showed that there was no central “go to” place for support agencies. As in Queenstown after Covid19 , Cyclone Gabrielle in Hawes Bay 2023 documented that  communities had long term psychological and psychosocial impacts afterwards.

These events really highlighted the need more than ever, that one single event can cause catastrophic knock on effects in a fast growing and international community like the Whakatipu.

Queenstown does not have a central civil defence social support centre should the predicted Alpine Fault (AF8) earthquake occur. Therefore , part of the hub planning and operations is to incorporate into the hub, a support centre capable of operating independently should we encounter another pandemic or a catastrophic civil defence event .

How will the hub operate?

The Hub will be owned and operated by our not for profit trust on It will. Be a fantastic community asset QLDC have already made land worth >$30 million available a long term “peppercorn” rent. With the land secured, we are looking to raise the funds to build the project so that social entities (tenants) will only need to pay for operational costs in a form of shared contributions at a far lower rate than current market rents.


A hub is long overdue and in a town where we are often the envy and gold standard for NZ tourism. In a place with an international airport, a cosmopolitan shopping offer, a vibrant hospitality scene, an entrepreneurial spirit, we have the opportunity to also be a leading example:

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