Aro Ha business partners Damian Chaparro (left) and Chris
Madison flank Acting Prime Minister Bill English at the
wellness retreat on Thursday. Photo supplied.
Unusual for the opening of a $30 million centre attended
by Acting Prime Minister Bill English was a lack of footwear
that was almost de rigueur for guests at the ceremony.
The Aro Ha wellness retreat, set on 8.4ha of land 4km south
of the Glenorchy township, and which has been three years in
the making, will tomorrow host its first retreat guests.
At the official opening on Thursday, Mr English, who is also
the member of Parliament for Clutha Southland, trumpeted the
foreign investment benefit.
He thanked the centre's American business partners Damian
Chaparro and Chris Madison for choosing New Zealand and the
location near Glenorchy, which is ''really the only place in
New Zealand where creativity and business are seen as the
The Overseas Investment Office and Lakes Environmental - now
merged with the Queenstown Lakes District Council - granted
consent for the centre. Mr English also thanked the business
partners for bringing ''the different vision that you have
when you come from larger, more complex societies''.
A five-day Enrich and Invigorate retreat starts at NZ$4550
per person and a seven-day Delve Deep retreat at NZ$6250.
The accommodation provides for up to 32 guests and the centre
includes a spa with saunas, spa and massage rooms.
Mr Chaparro said there was a ''real need for the facility''
and the project was ''a bit of a dream''.
The official opening included a powhiri, karanga, whaikorero,
group waiata and later, guests at the opening were invited to
help plant a tree by using a trowel to apply dirt around the
Mr Chaparro said the tree was planted to symbolise the
intention to stay.