Charlotte and Bruce McPhail, from Christchurch, are part of
the increase in Wanaka's population. Photo by Mark Price.
Christchurch expatriates Charlotte and Bruce McPhail are
two of those who were part of the 1434 increase in Wanaka's
population between 2006 and 2013.
The town now has 6474 people who are ''usually resident'' and
Lake Hawea's population has climbed from 1596 to 2172.
Mr McPhail said yesterday they made the move to Wanaka to
''escape earthquake-ravaged Christchurch''.
''We wanted a change of lifestyle.''
Mr McPhail said they started off looking at houses in Akaroa
they could convert into a bed and breakfast but that idea
''somehow morphed into this''.
''This'' is the 19-unit Alpine Motel and Apartments in
Ardmore St, Wanaka, which they bought almost exactly a year
''We had both been in office environments and wanted to enjoy
the great outdoors, and where better than Wanaka?'' he said.
Mrs McPhail said their Christchurch house was affected by the
earthquake but ''not drastically'' and it had been repaired.
They had not yet decided to sell it, ''so we can go back if
we want to'', she said.
Mr McPhail said they were managing the motels themselves and
living in the complex while they decided whether to buy a
house in Wanaka.
Mrs McPhail considered property prices around Wanaka
''astronomical'' and ''overpriced''.
The couple marvelled at the number of expensive holiday
houses in Wanaka.
''Who can own a $2 million property down there on the
waterfront and leave it shut up for 10 months of the year?''
Mr McPhail asked.
However, he said, they were enjoying ''the business, the
lifestyle, the people, the town''.
Now, on visits to Christchurch, they were struck by the poor
state of the streets there and a seeming lack of progress on
''It's such a joy to come here,'' Mr McPhail said of Wanaka.