People & Community

People & Community

Empowering People, Enriching Communities

The Rees societal impact to not only paying a ‘living wage’ for its human capital but contributing to the wider community it operates in – both locally and internationally.

Soap Aid, New Zealand and Globally

“Soap Aid’s partnership with the Rees Hotel, Luxury Apartments and Lakeside Residences is critically important to be able to improve access to soap in the most disadvantaged communities around the world. Just by washing hands with soap many of the germs that cause disease can be diminished, kids can attend more school; their opportunities are enhanced, parents are able to work more, so household incomes improve. To date, Soap Aid has diverted more than 120,000 kg of waste soap from overflowing landfills and has recycled 1.18 million bars of recycled soap for targeted communities which has contributed to saving over 21,000 children’s lives!

The Rees Hotel joined Soap Aid in our New Zealand pilot program in 2019 and its forward thinking leadership team are an example to the tourism industry in New Zealand to change the way hotels operate, manage their waste and support disadvantaged communities. The support of hotels like the Rees is critically important for a not for profit like Soap Aid as through our partnership, Soap Aid will be able grow our global impact. Every bar of waste soap counts and saves lives and our thanks goes out to the staff and management.”

Carol Bellew | COO | SOAP AID (October, 2019)

Community Initiatives

The Rees Hotel is deeply dedicated to honouring and enhancing the social, cultural, and historical values of the Southern Lakes District. Our commitment is showcased through our diverse collection of both contemporary and historic artworks and prints, an extensive library filled with rare books on the region’s development, and our focus on offering local produce, wines, and beverages to our guests. Additionally, we’re thrilled about the unique accommodation and experience packages offered at The Rees being in collaboration with local suppliers

From 2021 to the present (August 20230, The Rees has generously contributed over $100,000 in donations and support to various charitable causes and fundraisers.

We are proud to support and continue our involvement with the following organisations:

Christchurch Mosque Support

The Rees Hotel, Queenstown held an auction for the Christchurch mosque shootings in 2019.

Over $15K was raised at an auction at the hotel which was donated to Yama and his family.

More details and public recognition of this donation can be found here.

First Settler’s Legacy

Celebrating Queenstown/Tahuna’s Naming and Settlement Anniversary – by early Aotearoa New Zealand Maori and William Gilbert Rees (6 April 1827 — 31 October 1898).

As part of the hotel’s annual Calendar of Events, it celebrates the annual posthumous birthday of Queenstown’s First Non-Maori ‘Early Settler’ – William Gilbert Rees on April 6th.

William Gilbert Rees, explorer and first European settler of Queenstown/Tahuna, New Zealand, is The Rees Hotel Queenstown’s namesake, and historical inspiration. In 1861, William and his wife Frances settled by Lake Wakatipu and built the first buildings nearby. Gold was discovered in 1862 and Queenstown became a thriving town in 1863, 160 years ago.

Māori – The Importance of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Bi-Cultural Position

Local Māori tribe Ngāi Tahu made their home in Te Waipounamu (the South Island) over 800 years ago. Seasonal hunting prospects and the prized greenstone pounamu drew them to the head of Lake Wakatipu, as the stones could be found in plentiful supply around the Routeburn and Dart Valleys. Pounamu was valued not only because it was strong and durable, but also because it was extremely beautiful. The stone could be carved into toki (adzes), chisels, mere (short clubs) and personal ornaments such as hei tiki (necklaces) and ear adornments.

Māori also harvested the leaves of tikumu (mountain daisy) for cloaks and the highly-valued fragrant oil from taramea (wild Spaniard), found on the mountainous snowlines. This was taken to coastal villages where it was traded for goods. Traveling seasonally between mahinga kai (customary food gathering) sites, Māori feasted on the region’s seafood, eels, birds and plants, leaving rock art and planting ti (cabbage trees) to guide future generations.

Throughout the hotel, we educate our visitors and team on the importance of Mātauranga Māori.

  • Our conference room is named ‘Ruma Wai Kahu’ or Blue Water Room in reference to NZ’s third largest lake, Lake Whakatipu, which it partially overlooks.
  • All our (1-5) Lakeside Residences are named Tahi, Rua, Toru, Whā, & Rima.
  • The official telephone and email greeting of the hotel is ‘Kia Ora’.
  • All our team members are inducted at the commencement of employment with a module on the Tiaki Principles of Mana’akitanga (hospitality & Kindness) and Kaitiakitanga (Guardianship & the Environment).
  • We engage with our local Māori community and Iwi on key official events recognising the importance of Tangata Whenua through official addresses or Waiata Group performances.
  • We engage with Aotearoa New Zealand Art Galleries and Artists to showcase Māori Art at the hotel.
  • An excerpt of the Te Titiri o Waitangi is published and framed in the hotel lobby.

Ruma Wai Kahu (Blue Water Room)

The Rees Sustainability Commitments