An 11 month project providing leadership, communications & event management for NZSKI’s 75th year celebration for Coronet Peak Ski Area; included lead up brand activations, delivery of a five day programme of events and producing a very successful video storytelling campaign.

Celebrating 75 years was an opportunity to reinforce Coronet Peak’s position as not only the birthplace of commercial skiing in NZ, but as the leading winter snow sports destination in the Southern Hemisphere.

With a strong focus of showcasing the ski area and region nationally and internationally, the celebration drove visitation, economic impact and employment for the region.

Driven by the vision, enterprise, enthusiasm and drive of one man and one company, Harry Wigley and the Mount Cook Company, the ski area launched commercially in July 1947 and in doing so it forever changed Queenstown’s, and ultimately New Zealand’s, tourism offering.

From humble beginnings that required a long walk up to a single rope tow Coronet Peak has evolved over its 75 years building on its position as the birth place of commercial skiing in New Zealand, and the country’s, true ‘original’ for winter snowsports.

This was a real passion project; for John growing up in Southland meant winter holidays were spent on the slopes of Coronet Peak. Getting hired as a ski instructor while still at university John taught skiing on the mountain and overseas before moving on to a regional sales & marketing role for the Mount Cook Group in the mid-1990s with selling the ski area a key feature of the job.

With a background that also includes experience in media, marketing communications and events, John was a passionate project lead for Coronet Peaks 75th celebration.


  • Video storytelling series
  • Downtown historical display
  • History wall in base building at Coronet Peak showing each decade
  • Airport activation – themed space developed; 1950s base lodge building
  • Iconic ‘wishing well’ meeting place rebuilt and launched on the ski area
  • Karen Walker collaboration
  • Branded merch, comms and signage
  • Five day event programme at Coronet Peak Ski Area

Project managing Coronet Peak ski areas 75th celebrations included producing a series of five storytelling videos to help bring the mountain’s rich history to life.

With 75 years of history, Coronet Peak and its people had so many stories to tell.

The first story was about the Divers family from Dunedin – holidays were always all about skiing and the winter.

Hitting the slopes of Coronet Peak was the highlight of Lynne and Tina’s childhood, and growing up with their father Arnold, a former WWII fighter pilot and seven times national ski champion who lived and breathed all things ski related, it’s easy to see why.

Arnold Divers is a Coronet Peak legend, passing on his love of the mountain and skiing to his family. He was a founding member of the infamous ‘one ski in the grave’ club formed on a whim by a handful of Kiwi veterans that is now legendary amongst the world’s more senior skier’s population.

When he retired he was caretaker of the Otago and Vincent ski huts, allowing him to live on the mountain and ski every possible day during the winter months on his ‘beloved mountain.’

He is remembered on Coronet Peak by ‘Arnold’s Way’, his favourite run on the mountain where his family scattered his ashes after his death.

Coronet Peak 75th Stories: Arnold and his Daughters, Lynn and Tina Divers

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