Anthony King and Michelle King are well-known faces in the Wakatipu community and long-standing supporters of the WHS Foundation.
Until recently Michelle served as a WHS Foundation Trustee and they have been Business Partners for many years through their business PAK'nSAVE.
We asked Michelle and Anthony to share with us why they support Wakatipu High School through the WHS Foundation and why active community engagement is so important.
What bought you to Queenstown?
Michelle: I've been a local since moving to Queenstown in 1981 when my parents, Mary and John Thompson purchased the Four Square dairy in Frankton. I've pretty much lived here since with some time away in Dunedin for schooling and university before an ‘OE’ to Auckland for a couple of years, working as a tax consultant at KPMG. Anthony and I met in Auckland and made the move back to Queenstown in 2004. We now have two primary age children, Emily (11) and Cameron (9).
What do you love about the Wakatipu?
We love the natural beauty we are surrounded by and the opportunities to get amongst it through outdoor activities, in particular running or cycling the trails (Michelle has participated in the Queenstown Half Marathon every year since it started), golfing, snow skiing in winter, and water sports on the lake in summer.
We also love the diversity of people we engage with, from long-term locals (yes there are quite a few around) to new residents arriving here; the cultural diversity that we see in our work teams; and the tourists traveling through our area (although there has been a huge hole left in this space by the closed borders making life very challenging for many but also highlighting our community spirit and the resilience that exists here).
How long have you operated PAK'nSAVE?
We opened PAK’nSAVE Queenstown in November 2016, so soon to celebrate five years. We employ approximately 150 staff although this has varied with COVID and the challenges around staff recruitment that many other businesses in the region have also felt.
We love providing first job opportunities to some of the WHS students and seeing these young adults develop over the years they work with us whilst completing their high school education and then often beyond that as they return for holiday work during university holidays.
What attracted you to giving back to the Wakatipu community and the WHS Foundation in particular?
We consider ourselves fortunate to live, work and operate a business in the Wakatipu. This is our community and we want to do all we can to support the community to thrive. For us this means focusing on four priority areas:
Providing access to healthy and affordable food,
Creating meaningful work opportunities,
Supporting our local community, and
Developing our sustainable leadership
We see Wakatipu High School as a key asset in our community, raising and educating our children to become the best they can be, or to reach for their heights, and so under our ambition to support our community the WHS Foundation has provided a great avenue for us to channel our passion for education initiatives in our community. PAK’nSAVE Queenstown is proud to have been a business sponsor of the WHS Foundation for a number of years now and more recently to increase our financial support to Platinum level.
Tell us a bit about other ways you choose to give back and support the Wakatipu community.
Our commitment to the WHS Foundation is one of a number of initiatives PAK’nSAVE Queenstown has engaged in to increase our impact within our community, with the aim of supporting our community to thrive.
PAK’nSAVE Queenstown is a major donor of Wakatipu Trails Trust, recognising the benefit of this fantastic trail network as an attraction to draw visitors to our area but also as an asset to support our community to live active and healthy lifestyles.
Food donation initiatives including working with Kiwi Harvest who collect product from PAK’nSAVE on a regular basis to deliver to local charity organisations and just recently running the PAK’canSAVE promotion, whereby we and our customers could donate products instore to be donated to local food banks. This was also supported with financial support from PAK’nSAVE to those local food banks.
PAK’nSAVE Queenstown is a platinum sponsor of the Foodstuffs Community Trust (and until recently Michelle was a trustee of this trust). This has seen us support grants to local organisations from Happiness House and Baskets of Blessing for food vouchers to a number of primary schools for equipment purchases to Queenstown Baby Box to educational grants being awarded to students who have worked for us and are going on to further education.
We support the LUMA festival.
We support a huge range (too many for us to count!) of groups, charities, schools, sports teams and community initiatives through gift cards and donations.
Our business participates in the Waste to Wilderness programme, diverting waste from landfill to instead be converted to compost and used for planting native trees and we are currently looking at an opportunity to have PAK’nSAVE team members involved in a tree-planting initiative as part of this to see us complete the loop of seeing our waste go back into a positive environmental project.
PAK’nSAVE team have a ‘Get active for Good’ challenge each year, which encourages team to get physically active and in return for kms completed by the team PAK’nSAVE commits funds to local charities.
As long-term residents who love this region we are committed to doing the best we can for the area and this often means committing ourselves over and above financial contributions too. Michelle served four years as a trustee of the WHS Foundation until earlier this year, and is a member of IMPACT100. Anthony is a current board member of the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce. With young children who are keen on a variety of sports, we both have coached or managed a variety of sports teams including netball, soccer, cricket, and touch rugby as well.