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Hawea Local Q&A - Zoe Hawkins, The Muster

Copywriter, brand strategist, advertising extraordinaire, and the brains (and big smile) behind agency - The Muster. Lake Hawea Local Zoe Hawkins' contribution was instrumental to our recent re-brand and restaurant refurbishment here at Hawea Store & Kitchen. Without her, we'd be lost at sea.

Zoe! What bought you to Lake Hawea?:

Four years ago, my husband and I were road tripping around the South Island and

spent a night camped on the side of Lake Hawea – the place where you’re allowed

to camp, of course. With the clear night sky above us and our new favourite beer

‘Joy Rider’ in hand, we decided we’d eventually retire here. Two years of hectic big

city life later that plan was fast-tracked – minus the retiring!

Tell us a little about your professional background ...

I spent the majority of my professional career as a copywriter in the big advertising

agencies of Auckland and Wellington. The easiest way to describe it is Mad Men

with only slightly less whiskey drinking, smoking inside and sexism. A wonderful

mixture of writing, brand strategy and creative thinking, I loved what I was doing but

not the big corporate brands I was doing it for. The day I decided to leave advertising

was the day we decided to move to Hawea.

So how how did you find your niche in this neck of the woods?

After a couple of months in this amazing little town I realised I could have my eco-

friendly cake and eat it too. I started applying my years of experience in brand

strategy and creative campaigns to the environmentally and community conscious

businesses and non-profit organisations in Hawea and her surrounds. To make it

official, I started my own little agency ‘Muster’; a nod to the Southern folks that

inspired me to use my powers for good and a call for courageous advertising that

brings people together. Yes, such advertising does exist.

Over the past year I’ve rallied a team of like-minded brand strategists, designers,

illustrators, photographers and web developers to join the Muster and now offer folks

a full-service agency.

Nice! Any notable projects to date (apart from Hawea Store & Kitchen of course)?

There’s no shortage of environmentally and community conscious businesses and

non-profit organisations in Queenstown Lakes District, and in the past year I’ve been

lucky enough to work with some of the most inspiring, talented and passionate folks

I’ve ever come across.

LandeScape - the new eco-tourism hub on Camp Hill Road offering hot tubs and e-

Construction, and last but most certainly not least, the rebrand of Sailz – now Hawea

Store & Kitchen.

Outside of our wonderful town, I’ve assisted One New Zealand with their recent One

Summit event, SUC Free Wanaka with their mission to get rid of single-use cups

once and for all and everything from community housing projects, eco-tourism

companies and online stores for recycled fashion to Kiwi banks, DOC films and Bike

Glendhu – our brand spanking new mountain bike park.

Up-sides and down-sides of making it all work in paradise'?

It was the stunning lake and mountains that drew us here, but it’s the people that

have made us never look back. This is the most caring, inspiring and talented

community I have ever had the pleasure of stumbling across and I feel so lucky to

now call Hawea my home and my office.

The only bad thing about working here is the hiking trails, bike tracks and lake can

be very distracting. Though now that I say it, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

And so finally ... what does your dream day in Hawea look like?

My dream day in Hawea would be a solid hike up Isthmus Peak, Sawyerburn or

Breast Hill followed by a lazy float in the lake and fish burgers from the Hawea Store

& Kitchen washed down with a couple of Joy Riders, then dozing off on the warm

stones. We now have a new addition to our little family, so this might require some

slight tweaks.


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