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Whakapapa Holdings ‘delighted’ at Mount Ruapehu opportunity

Whakapapa Holdings ‘delighted’ at Mount Ruapehu opportunity
June 14, 2023

Confirmed as the preferred bidder to operate the Whakapapa Ski Area on Mount Ruapehu, Whakapapa Holdings Ltd has issued a statement advising that it is “delighted” at the move.

With a decision on future operations of the Whakapapa and Tūroa ski fields on Mount Ruapehu expected next week, bids by Whakapapa Holdings and Pure Tūroa to take on the mountain’s two ski areas have been supported by the New Zealand Government.

Whakapapa Holdings Ltd, headed by former Whakapapa and Tūroa ski areas’ Chief Executive Dave Mazey and the partners of New Zealand-based investment firm The South Island Office.

Mazey advised that the new company has significant relevant experience to take the business forward in a sustainable manner, ensuring long term viability with a combined 70 years’ experience in ski area operations and management, plus wide experience in project delivery and finance within the group.

He explained “Whakapapa Holdings was initially drawn to the opportunity from a knowledge of this business’ proud standing in the region and the country, by the strengths within the current team and the passion and commitment of the many wider stakeholders, especially iwi.

“This is critical to ensure Whakapapa can deliver an even greater range of benefits to the place, to the surrounding communities, and to the wider group of New Zealand users and stakeholders.”

The purchase price for the Whakapapa ski field and operations is $1, but Whakapapa Holdings is taking on what the Voluntary Administrators called “significant obligations of RAL (former operator Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Limited)”.

The Crown will own 25% of the shares in Whakapapa Holdings.

Mazey enjoyed a strong and supportive relationship for some years with many of the iwi whose rohe (territory) extends over the slopes of Mt Ruapehu. This would be extended with Whakapapa Holdings Ltd.

He acknowledged iwi support for the ongoing operation of, and implementation of necessary reinvestment at, Whakapapa Ski Area.

The company is also engaging with stakeholders locally and nationally, especially ski clubs and lifetime passholders who have strong interests in the ski area.

Under the Whakapapa Holdings’ offer, existing lifetime passholders will be able to reactivate their pass for Whakapapa ski area. For those who purchased their lifetime pass before 2018, this reactivation will cost $1850 with a split payment offer of $599 paid before winter 2023, and the balance paid in April 2024.

For those who purchased during 2019, this price will be $599 paid before winter 2023.

If the Whakapapa Holdings’ bid is successful, there will be a 2023 Whakapapa Season pass available, during a two week-long campaign to start shortly after the 20th June confirmation meeting.

Mazey added “The ski areas on Mt Ruapehu are hugely important to the region, and indeed the whole country.”

Whakapapa is one of New Zealand's largest ski areas and boasts the country's premier beginner facility Happy Valley along with vast intermediate and advanced trails.

Mazey said Whakapapa Holdings intended to focus initially on delivery of a strong start to the 2023 winter season but will then move quickly to planning for summer operations and developments for summer 23/24.

Images: The Whakapapa Ski Area on Mount Ruapehu (top, credit: Shutterstock) and Dave Mazey (below, credit: Facebook).

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