Southern Discoveries Change Leader – Hotel Magazine


It’s all change at Queenstown’s Southern Discoveries as one of the country’s most experienced tourism professionals retires and an industry stalwart steps up. 

Southern Discoveries owner Skeggs Group has announced the retirement of CEO Tim Hunter, and is delighted to confirm the appointment of former general manager of Sales and Marketing, Kerry Walker to the role of CEO. 

Walker has 25 years’ of tourism experience, the last four-and-a-half years of which have been spent at Southern Discoveries. In the previous 15 years, she worked in a range of senior sales and marketing roles for Ngāi Tahu Tourism.  

During her time with Southern Discoveries, her sales and marketing skills have proved invaluable to the company, along with her strong network of industry relationships. 

Southern Discoveries has been owned and operated by the Skeggs Group since 2009, and company director David Skeggs said he is pleased to welcome Walker into her new role. 

“It is fantastic that we have been able to make an internal appointment and give Kerry the opportunity to showcase her unique skills and experience that will continue to drive the company forward,” said Skeggs. 

Tim Hunter retires after seven years spent as Southern Discoveries’ CEO, following extensive experience in the New Zealand aviation, coach transport and destination marketing sectors. His roles have included working as a commercial pilot in the Southern Lakes area, holding airline planning roles with Air New Zealand, and working in a number of senior general management roles including general manager of marketing with The Mount Cook Group during the 1990s. 

Hunter broadened his international market experience with Tourism New Zealand as Regional Manager for Americas & Europe and General Manager of Operations, and in 2010 became Chief Executive of Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism (CCT). 

“Tim has done a superb job of running the business during his tenure, especially during some very challenging times during Covid,” said Skeggs. 

“He would be the first to say he couldn’t have done it without the support of all his team and I’m sure he will be missed by all.”  

Walker said Southern Discoveries is an industry leader that delivers exceptional nature experiences in this “unique” part of New Zealand. 

“I’ve always worked within businesses that show off the very best of New Zealand’s scenery, adventure and hospitality, and align with my values of preservation and social sustainability,” added Walker.

“Southern Discoveries fits that bill perfectly.” 

Walker takes up her new role on July 17.

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