Who we are
Our team is made up of passionate, creative and down to earth superstars.
Queenstown is our home and we think there’s nowhere else quite like it. Showcasing Queenstown and New Zealand to clients from all over the world is what drives us and our philosophy is simple, create the best experiences possible and consistently push the boundaries. We love to listen to your needs and then bring that reality to life, while dealing with all of the contingency planning in the background.
Our seasoned team know the industry inside out, with the youngest members having worked at HQNZ since 2015 and longest standing since 2000! So experience for yourself why we’ve won awards around the world and been trusted to deal with thousands of events over 20 years.
Rob Stewart McDonald
I’m Rob Stewart-McDonald, Managing Director at HQ New Zealand. I first came to Queenstown masquerading as a ski bum on a ski road trip back in 1994. I instantly knew I had found the place I wanted to make my home one day.
In 2000, my wife Michelle and I quit our corporate jobs, loaded our few possessions in a car and headed south with a vague idea of starting some sort of adventure tourism business
Creating a business where everyone looked forward to coming to work each day was the goal and what better way than helping our corporate customers find inspiration in this special part of the world that we all love.
This was easier said than done and with money fast running out we found HQ in its infancy. With little knowledge of the industry but solid business backgrounds we set to work and after thousands of successful events the rest is history, although the GFC and now Covid have thrown up a few challenges to navigate. HQ is a resilient company with an amazing team and I am confident that the future for us and Queenstown is bright.
When not building HQ I can be found skiing, golfing, mountain biking, relaxing with a glass of one of our fine local Pinots or chasing winters with our 2 competitive ski racing kids.
I am the token Pommie of the HQ team! I moved to Queenstown back in 2010 and like a lot of people arriving here with a Working Holiday visa, I only intended to stay for a year or so but the stunning scenery along with the awesome kiwi lifestyle kept me here and I’ve been lucky to call this incredible place my home ever since.
I’ve worked in various Sales & Marketing roles since I left college and after a couple of jobs here in town, I found HQ and landed on my feet.
I’m a self-confessed flat-white addict, the one that brings that typical dry British humour to the office and I tend to spend most of the days dodging some of Ellen’s pranks. I don’t like Microsoft Excel very much and I shout that to the rooftops regularly but get me on a PowerPoint and I’ll rustle up something special.
I love putting together exciting itineraries and creating programs for our clients. I feel so lucky that I am able to sell Queenstown on a daily basis and there is no better feeling than seeing that come to life!
Outside of the HQ world I love to travel, socialise with my gang and explore this dreamboat of a town - something I will love more now than ever.
Born & bred in Arrowtown I am obsessed with this beautiful place we live in. I love to travel the world but nothing beats stepping off the plane in Queenstown airport and knowing this is home. I love exploring this incredible backyard whether it’s skiing, wakeboarding, hiking or biking Queenstown really has everything to offer.
I started working for HQ in 2015 as an Event Coordinator after graduating Otago with a Bachelor of Applied Management majoring in Event Management.
Something people may not know about me (although most do) is that I am animal obsessed! Life is just better with pets.
Senior Event Manager
While I’m not a QT local, I’m working hard to make the cut. I’ve lived here with my family for 5 years and loved every minute. In a previous life I was a primary school teacher and taught around the world before moving into recruitment, sales and more recently marketing through large scale brand experience campaigns.
One of my favourite challenges working at HQ is taking a concept for an amazing event and building the detail around it to bring it to life.
Outside of work, you will find me exploring our backyard and making the most of this beautiful place that we live in.
Director of Operations
I arrived in Queenstown fresh faced straight from Victoria University in Wellington with a passion for knowledge and adventure and have made Queenstown my home.
I started at HQNZ back in 2004 and in 2013 I took a few years off to retrain, learn some new business and life skills before the opportunity to return to a career and company I love arose in 2017.
I appreciate a good spreadsheet , diversity makes a great team after all. Systems, processes and planning are essential to managing an event and an area I relish.
I have been involved in tourism and events for over 20 years and have been so fortunate to not only build a network of like-minded people, but to watch this industry adapt, evolve and grow over time. Looking ahead I believe we will have exciting opportunities to reset some of the thinking and head in a more sustainable and inclusive direction.
When I am not sourcing hobbit costumes or pouring champagne on mountain tops, I am exploring our own backyard with my family.
Director of Sales & Marketing
Born & bred in Queenstown, I’m a self-confessed organisational freak & truly feel so lucky to have my dream job as I get to combine two of my biggest passions; Meeting/helping people in a creative capacity & showcasing my hometown which I adore.
I started working at HQNZ in Feb 2012. I was living in Perth, Australia at the time & saw the job advertised. I made it to interview stage so flew home & never returned to Australia. The rest, as they say, is history!
Something that people may not know about me is that I am ‘Chief of Pranks’ in our office. I believe work should be a combination of work & play so scheming on ways to prank my colleagues is something I take very seriously!
When I’m not at work or running after my very busy 18 month old boy, you can normally find me on the top of a mountain. Mountain running is my passion & after 33 years of running these hills, I’ve still only scratched the surface!
Thank you for supporting our project with your professional and intense work on the very successful BMW Motorrad Int. GS Trophy 2020.
The Int. GS Trophy 2020 in amazing New Zealand became so special because of the help, support and personal contribution from people like you. Many pictures have been taken and even more impressions will last for a long time in our minds. It has been a great pleasure being guest in Aotearoa.
We wish you all the best and hope to meet you again one day.BMW | Germany
I have worked with a variety of Event services vendors and DMC partners in my experience as an event planner for Amway Thailand. HQNZ represents the highest level of service and hospitality I have come across. Your team’s professionalism comes from a genuine passion to execute incredible events. The usual event maladies of stress and fatigue are nowhere to be found with this group. They have a contagious excitement and optimism for hospitality and travel and all the challenges it presents. Please pass this message to your team and everyone who contributed to make this event such a success. Thank you so much!Amway | Thailand
Thank you so much for your help with theming services for our event at Skyline last week, the room looked fantastic and our team had an amazing time! Given our short lead time you assisted us greatly, not only with theming but also the additional questions on the venue and location etc. I am truly grateful for all your help and will have no hesitation in recommending your services. Look forward to working with you again in the future!Pfizer | Australia
Thank you so much for your support and organization last week. So many of our brokers are telling me it was the best one yet, which places a tonne of pressure on me to back it up next year! Until then, I really do appreciate everything you did to make our event such a huge success.National Mortgage Brokers | Australia
Thank you for all your fabulous work, you’ve been sensational and a pleasure to work with. The program was super successful and seemed to fly by. Everyone had such a great time, and it’s going to be challenging creating an equally exciting program for 2018 in a different destination! The Gala Dinner was everything you want the last night to be, the group had a ball, and the band was fantastic. Thank you and the HQNZ team for making the program happen so seamlessly.Corporate Conference Solutions | Australia
Just wanted to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU for your effort on the planning and delivery of our tour in Queenstown. Feedback has been extremely positive! What a fantastic way to finish off the tour with Milford Sound! Thanks so so much for being there for us, for being quick on adapting the program due to the weather and for helping us putting such a fantastic program for our winners! Please extend our appreciation to the rest of the team at HQ! I guess HQ and your reputation over in Sydney is pretty high and you more than deserve it!LJ Hooker | Australia
Just a short note to ensure you are aware of how brilliant you are at your job! From the moment we were introduced you just ‘got us’. Your understanding of what I wanted to achieve in our program and assisting in it being executed was flawless.
You challenged the status quo, problem solved for me (love it!!) and at all times kept to budget, maintained professionalism and made me feel like I was your only client! I look forward to working with you again in a few years’ time when we come back (that’s the plan…..)Ipsen| Australia
It was a pleasure to work with you the whole process; your persistence, enthusiasm and patience never wavering! It makes such a difference to go onsite knowing our main event partner is working towards the same common goal, and I certainly felt that. Your team were a great asset onsite and did a fab job working with the Centre, caterer, AV and Fireworks etc to allow me to concentrate on the client, delegates and MC. Thanks again, I look forward to our next project together.Event Travel Management | Australia
I have utilised the services of HQNZ for over 10 years to provide the logistics and set-up of the BMW Alpine xDrive event held at the Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds, in Wanaka. The team have been outstanding in securing and managing all the logistics and movement of guests from the various locations to the SHPG, and for providing alternative options when weather became a factor.
HQNZ also assisted in the set-up and theming of the venues at SHPG. This included the build of a very large external sign at short notice. Their team was efficient and well organised and did an outstanding job in providing equipment and services, and their creative ideas were welcomed.
We have also been privileged to have HQNZ assist us at very short notice when our driving program was postponed due to weather. HQNZ created an entire day programme for 30 guests encompassing all that is great about Queenstown. Our guests were blown away with the number of outstanding activities they were able to arrange in such a short space of time.
I have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending HQNZ to manage your event and would be happy to talk to anyone about.BMW | New Zealand
We were thrilled to be introduced to HQ by our Helms Briscoe representative. We spent almost two weeks with them on a site visit and were impressed by their amount of knowledge on the destination as almost all of them are from the area. We brought close to 300 people to New Zealand from the United States- we used HQ for all of our ground transportation, group dinners, and activities. With so many moving pieces and last minute changes- it was almost impossible to keep up but you did a flawless job.
Everyone on team had such a friendly disposition and their professionalism was warmly received by all of our guests not to mention a huge relief to myself and our executive team. Many of our attendees now consider the HQ team friends and continue to rave about their time in New Zealand. It was a trip of a lifetime and was carried out beautifully by HQNZ.FIG | America
It is with pleasure and total confidence that I recommend the HQNZ team to create, operate and execute whatever work you are asking them to quote upon. When I was Vice President of Sales for Amway Japan, we had the pleasure to work with the HQ team on several events in Queenstown for our Diamond Club. The creativity and professionalism, as well as their experience in the Queenstown area was exceptional. I have no hesitation in recommending them.Amway | Japan