Trials and trails lead up to QSM

22:00, Jun 02 2013
Southland Times photo
Queenstown Trails Trust chief executive Kaye Parker and Prime Minister John Key at the official opening of the Queenstown Trail last year.

The chief executive of the Wakatipu Trails Trust, Kaye Parker, has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to tourism and children's health.

Ms Parker, who started in advertising in Auckland and London, helped establish and grow the medical research charity Cure Kids, serving as a fundraiser and chief executive until 2010.

The organisation has funded more than $21 million of medical research for children with life-threatening illnesses in New Zealand and overseas.

As chief executive of the trails trust since 2009, she helped lift the organisation's income by 43 per cent to $457,355 in 2010, making it the most successful nonprofit organisation in the Wakatipu.

She told The Southland Times Cure Kids, which was rebranded during her tenure, helped her learn the ropes.

"That was all-consuming, weeks, nights and days. We were all so passionate about it . . . in rebranding my wonderful team, and I worked just really hard to get money for medical research."

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She said she was a good negotiator but charitable nonprofit work was only possible if you really believed in the cause.

As for the growing biking tourism sector and the expanding network of trails for all abilities around Queenstown, she said she was fortunate.

"It has not just been me. It's been great to do a community project. Everybody has been involved."

The trust is dedicated to developing a network of public trails around the Wakatipu basin. She helped organise the fundraising efforts for the construction of the Queenstown trail, which opened last year as part of the national cycleway. The trail is more than 110 kilometres long and runs through central Queenstown, Arrowtown and Gibbston.

The Southland Times