Trails trust head stepping down

Kaye Parker.
Kaye Parker.
After four years at the helm of the Queenstown Trails Trust, chief executive Kaye Parker has decided to step back.

The trust's marketing director Mandy Kennedy has been appointed as her successor, while Mrs Parker will continue to work part-time on special projects for the trust.

Mrs Parker was appointed to the role in 2009 and was one of the driving forces behind the Queenstown Trail, a network of more than 110km of walking and cycling tracks throughout the Wakatipu.

The project was part of Prime Minister John Key's $50 million national cycleway initiative and required about $3 million funding to be raised by the community.

The trail was officially opened 12 months ago.

Mrs Parker said October 18, 2012 - the day the ribbon was cut by Mr Key - was undoubtedly one of the highlights for her.

The other was blitzing all predictions of potential trail users.

The business case put to the Government for the trail was between 25,000 and 35,000 people within the first five years.

Mandy Kennedy.
Mandy Kennedy.
Within the first nine months 107,000 people have utilised it, Mrs Parker said.

''They [the Government] thought we were dreaming. We did it - the community did it.''

Mrs Parker said she was excited about the prospect of having a part-time job - initially her work with the trust was to have been ''three days a week''.

''That lasted about a week.

''Having Mandy on board and seeing her fabulous skills just gave me every confidence that now is the right time for somebody to lead us in a new direction and for me to do what I really would like to do now, which is have a part-time job.''

Mrs Kennedy, who has been with the trust for six months, said she was ''delighted'' to have taken on the top job and said the focus of the trust now needed to be on maintaining existing tracks and ''further development''.

''There is always more opportunity to make it better ... we've just got to look for it.

''For me, the opportunity to work with Kaye is outstanding - if I can do half as good a job as she's done, I'll be pretty happy.''

Trust chairman Tony McQuilkin, who recently took over from former chairman Terry Stevens, said it was largely because of Mrs Parker the trail was opened on time and on budget.

''Kaye has made a significant impact and it is thanks to her professionalism, drive and energy that the $5.4 million Queenstown Trail was opened.

''We respect her decision to take a step back, but we are delighted she will continue to work on a range of special projects for the trust.''

Mr McQuilkin welcomed Mrs Kennedy's appointment, highlighting her expertise in sales and marketing and business development in both the hospitality and tourism industries.

''Mandy has excellent marketing and event skills and has played an important role as the trust's marketing director.''


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