Home' The Mirror Queenstown Lakes : October 3rd 2012 Contents 6
Class reuniting halfway around the world
Excited:Shammi Sandhu in her Arrowtown restaurant, Mantra. Photo: SUE FEA
Looking back: Shammi Sandhu in her
school tennis gear.
By SUE FEA
Help from social media and two
years of persistence has paid off
for Arrowtown restaurateur
Shammi Sandhu, whose Indian
boarding school class of 1968
arrive in Queenstown for a
reunion next week.
Eighteen ''girls'', now in their
mid-to-late 50s, four husbands and
one daughter will descend on
Arrowtown from five countries
for a 10-day high school reunion
from October 8, courtesy of Mrs
''I am so excited to show them all
Queenstown, my beautiful home.''
Mrs Sandhu, who owns Mantra
Restaurant, has spent the past 21G2
years tracking down 26 former
schoolmates and a teacher from
All Saints in Nainital, northern
India, using Facebook, LinkedIn,
MySpace and any other means.
Finding everybody after 44 years
has been no mean feat.
former students and staff from the
exclusive mountain region school
set up during the British Raj days,
are now spread around the world.
''From the end of April until now
all I have done is breath, eat and
live my All Saints reunion. I want
them to go away saying this is and
has been the highlight of their
lives,'' Mrs Sandhu said.
It's been a big ask for many of
them to fork out for a trip half-
way across the world so Mrs
Sandhu, renowned as the perfect
hostess, is doing her bit by
turning on an amazing itinerary.
She will host a dinner showcasing
New Zealand and local produce
and the best of Central Otago
Mrs Sandhu's own ''master chef'''
Brendan Downer will turn out
everything from Fiordland
venison and smoked snapper to
lamb cutlets and Whitestone
Her schoolmates will be wel-
comed by Queenstown Kapa Haka
Group to a free gala dinner at
Mantra. Each old girl will give a
brief presentation about their life
during the past 44 years and
receive a beautiful album of their
school years from Mrs Sandhu
and a Queenstown gift bag.
''Everybody in the community
has been so generous.''
Gibbston Valley Wines has sup-
plied some top wines, Michael Hill
Jeweller and Aotea Gift Shop
have given gift vouchers and
Clarion High View Apartments
have given generous rates.
The group will also visit the
Glowworm Caves and Milford,
travelling back via Mavora Lakes
and Walter Peak on the Earnslaw,
visit Skippers Canyon, the Sky-
line gondola and take a spin on
Mrs Sandhu's sister, former
Dunedin mayor Sukhi Turner, is
hosting a lunch for the class at her
Wanaka home and a ''nature
walk'' just like old school days, on
Queenstown cameraman Rick
Gutzewitz who is studying broad-
casting in Christchurch will film
a documentary on the celebra-
Shagga's off to pastures new
In store: Allan Hamilton.
Photo: JOHN EDENS
By JOHN EDENS
Arrowtowner Allan Hamilton,
more commonly known as
Shagga, is moving on from an
institution -- the town's Ramshaw
Ln wine cellar.
He and wife Barbara have been in
the industry since 1992, when they
ran bottle stores in Queenstown,
then opened Hamilton Wine
Cellars in 1994.
Shagga started a business that
offered a wide selection and
pushed the then burgeoning
Central Otago varietals.
''Back then it was interesting,
there wasn't the competition
there then because supermarkets
didn't have wine in those days.
''The Central Otago industry
started cranking up, we really
have pushed the wineries.''
His favourite tipple is Australian
shiraz and he is known as Shagga
simply because he's not great
with names and uses it for all and
''We had a wonderful client base
over the years and really lovely
''I'll greatly miss the loyal clients
and hopefully they'll keep in
The Arrowtown local isn't going
far though. He's off to help run the
Fork and Tap with daughter
Jeannie and son-in-law Keith.
Last year the Hamiltons won an
Environment Court case that
overturned a Queenstown Lakes
District Council planning
decision preventing redevelop-
ment of the pub and stone cottage.
The bottle store was sold to
Brendan Cook, who has more
than 20 years' experience in the
He and wife Charlotte plan to
rebrand the store as Arrowtown
Get up close with Spooky Men
Quirky: Quirky Australian choral group the Spooky Men will be performing at the Luggate Hall as part of their
October tour of New Zealand. Formed in 2001 by ex-pat Stephen Taberner after he was inspired by the male choirs
of Georgia, the group have become known for their deadpan commentary on the male condition. They work to
impeccable musical values performing rock standards, love ballads and ancient Georgian hymns. In New Zealand
their voices are most recognisable as the smooth vocals behind the track on the Speights Summit commercial ''Men
like beer''. They perform in Luggate on October 16 and tickets are available from Wanaka Fine Wines.
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