Cherilyn Walthew - new QLDC candidate for Wanaka

Jul 05, 2019

Crux has received the following candidacy announcement from Cherilyn Walthew.

I am Cherilyn Walthew and I am seeking the privilege to represent the Wanaka Ward at the next Council elections.

After growing up in Wanaka and buying a property in Hawea at the end of the 90’s. I returned to the Upper Clutha area permanently in 2010 with my family to what I consider, one of the greatest places to live.

In my absence, it was apparent that many changes had taken place in the once sleepy town I remembered of 1994 however, that was nothing compared to what I have witnessed in the past nine years as development on both sides of the hill have ramped up to produce new suburbs at lightning speed and the once sleepy, backwater roads have transformed into main thoroughfares despite limited infrastructure development.

Whilst away from New Zealand, I had the privilege of visiting many different countries, and I mean, privileged. This is an aspect that I see lacking from too many of our visitors and this lack of respect is at times, making it an unnecessarily, difficult place for some of our residents to live.

Many of the tourist hotspots around the world have suffered degradation to their environments and local lifestyle due to over subscription of tourist numbers and uncontrolled infrastructure issues around waste. What we have seen in recent years around our small towns, is sounding alarm bells within our communities, now is the time to act!

My Intentions:

I have two principles that I would like considered when looking at implementation of new policies or, developments in our towns;

  • Is it Environmentally “sympathetic” and “sustainable”?
  • Is the policy/development Socially responsible?

If these principles are upheld, and the character and values of our towns are preserved, then I am happy to support business and development. After all, many of us have had to “create a reason” to be able to stay in this beautiful place.

Our environment is the number one draw card to this district and it’s why many of us have moved here. I ask everyone to remember that key fact, regardless of how long you have lived here.

I believe we can teach consideration to our visitors and manage the volumes in a sustainable and economically viable manner, while still providing an excellent visitor experience. This is no more or less than what is expected by many other foreign countries from their visitors.

I fully support the recent Climate Emergency declaration and I believe in leading by example. The Council needs to help provide and support solutions to our modern challenges whilst ensuring the environment plays a major part of our decision making. This is non-negotiable if we are hoping to preserve this paradise for future generations.

It is time to start finding immediate solutions to our housing crisis by working with our communities. Innovation is required around tiny homes, composting, waste-water alternatives, grey water systems, solar and wind initiatives. I believe we have those innovations already in the community, we’re just slow to investigate and implement them.

I would like to see the Council develop a blueprint for “best practice” when undertaking “consultation” with the community. I would like that blueprint to become the expectation for both Council, and anyone else applying for Resource Consent, when stating that “community consultation” has taken place.

If successful in seeking election to the Queenstown Lakes District Council, I am looking to bring genuine democracy back to the table.


My family moved to the Upper Clutha region in 1975. It turns out, this wasn’t the first time my family had frequented the area, as was discovered through my Maori heritage on my Mother’s side, which is traced back to the Hawea area.

During the 80’s and early 90’s of my childhood, tourism was fast becoming a staple economic driver to encourage people to the district. In the summertime, we had pristine waterways, empty beaches and a fair few visitors at New Year. In the winter, the new ski-fields offered a fun distraction for locals and visitors alike.

Tourism bought in transient workers from around the world and in a small town, we all knew everyone! It’s unsurprising with this range of international influences in my life, I was keen to head off on the great Kiwi backpack adventure back in the mid 90’s to experience some of their stories for myself.

I first developed “itchy feet” back in 1994 and headed to the UK where I developed a career in IT Recruitment before heading over to Dublin in 1997. Whilst in Ireland my career developed into a Consultant Human Resource Business Partner, working across multiple disciplines for a global telecommunications company. On returning to the UK in 2004, I continued to work on a consultative basis with large blue-chip clients on people capital and information analysis projects.

I met my husband, Lorne Knight, in the UK. We have been married for nearly 22 years and have two children aged 10 and 13 who attend Hawea Primary School and Mount Aspiring College in Wanaka respectively.

Since returning to live full time in NZ nine years ago, both my husband and I have broken all ties to big business. Our current ventures are incorporated under the business Madfli Limited and include Pirate Pickles, a cottage industry jam, pickle and organic vegetable enterprise along with Human Resource Consultancy services trading under the name Enterprise And Staffing Innovations NZ (EASI NZ). We are also actively pursuing a plan to develop a boutique campground with eco-friendly visitor accommodation, at our property in Lake Hawea.

Since returning to the local area I have been actively involved with fundraising for the local Hawea Flat Primary School as part of the PTA, serving 4 years of that as Secretary and more recently fulfilled the H&S role on the Host Town organisation committee of the Hawea Cavalcade in March of this year which generated thousands of dollars back into the community.  

I believe I have the skills to communicate with people across a wide range of issues. If elected, I would be dedicated in seeking to represent the Wanaka Ward and support the aspirations of other Wards. It would be my priority to ensure our communities are fully consulted and engaged in decisions affecting their lifestyles, whilst preserving the integrity of our environment and towns, especially for our locals.

My professional experience includes working in large project teams with multiple stakeholders and has always been governed by a code of ethics, confidentiality agreements and civil law.

I would like to see the future strategy of our district be driven by sustainable business, supported with sustainable tourism, in consultation with our communities.

Thank you for reading.

Main Image: Cherilyn Walthew and husband Lorne Knight


Authorised By: Cherilyn Walthew, 20 Moraine Place, Lake Hawea,  9382


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