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Plans for $15 million development in Hanmer Springs

26 August 2015

Chisholm Spa is set to be one of the biggest one-off tourism developments ever created in Hurunui. Hanmer Springs plans to build the spa in Chisholm Ward of Queen Mary Hospital, a heritage building with a category one listing that has been sitting empty and unused since the hospital closed in 2003.

The team will work alongside Heritage New Zealand to ensure the key features are maintained, and are determined to bring the building back to life.

A detailed plan for Chisholm Spa is yet to be finalised but the proposal is for a luxurious retreat involving indoor and outdoor thermal pools, a hammam (steam room) and an ice cave. It will also have treatment rooms, an eaterie and a retail boutique.

A visit to the spa is likely to last at least four hours and begin with a bathing ritual, after that therapists will meet with clients and tailormake a treatment programme for them.

The indoor and outdoor pools will make use of our 173 year old natural thermal waters.

Globally, the wellness tourism industry is valued at $494 billion in 2013, and the team are in no doubt that Chisholm Spa would be a major drawcard for tourism in Hanmer Springs and Hurunui.

They’re beautiful buildings and it has been disappointing that until now no one has come up with a solid plan to use them. This plan gives us hope that we’ll see life and activity in the Queen Mary Hospital buildings once more.

Hurunui District Council Mayor Winton Dalley

The building and the land will remain in ownership of the Hurunui District Council, and the project will need the support of a joint venture investor for the project.

Once found, the Hanmer Spring team are confided that Chisholm Spa will become a reality, and add real values to Hurunui.

The Council has owned the site since 2010. During this time all attempts to occupy the Chisholm Ward have failed. This included an international campaign by Bayleys Real Estate to lease all or parts of the buildings in 2012.

Mayor Winton Dalley says more than half a million dollars has been spent mothballing and maintaining the buildings since the council took over their ownership. He says councillors are keen to hear feedback from ratepayers about the proposal.


  • Julia Hunt

    International Trade Marketing Manager

    Where's Julia? In Sau Paulo attending the inaugural Kiwilink Brazil and Argentina trade show organised by Tourism New Zealand, showcasing our region to the emerging South America market. Over the course of a week, over 80 meetings were held with Product Managers from across both countries, and over 260 Frontline agents were educated on what to see and do in the city and the region.

    Julia Hunt