Millbrook Resort

Nominee/entrant details

Millbrook Resort

Organisation details

Size: 200-499 staff

Industry: Accommodation and Food Services

Organisation background

Millbrook is a five-star golf and lifestyle resort. A pioneer in the luxury resort industry of New Zealand. Our award-winning resort offers luxurious, beautifully appointed accommodation, multiple onsite restaurants, a 27-hole championship golf course (expanding soon to 36-holes), award-winning day spa, health and fitness centre and various conference venues. We have an exceptional team that deliver an authentic five-star experience to our guests and have a supportive and rewarding work environment. At heart, we are a vibrant community where employees are fully supported, and everyone works closely together to achieve the best for guests and each other.

Executive summary

Millbrook Resort commenced its wellbeing journey within the last 18 months. Our purpose was to raise awareness around health and wellbeing issues in the workplace, but quickly focused on new opportunities to improve staff wellness through meaningful engagement and by creating a happier and healthier workplace culture. Adopting a purposeful “advocacy” approach and providing relatable content for our team members has since formed part of our business’s formal wellbeing strategy. Millbrook educates staff on the importance of wellbeing through workshops, online learning and creating new opportunities for personal and professional development within wellbeing. This combination encourages a robust strategy and maximises team engagement.

Background on situation and opportunity

Millbrook’s work environment is nurturing and supportive. Our ethos is that we are the Millbrook family. We recognise that many team members families are not based in Queenstown, and therefore offer a strong, supportive culture and community for our people to have a true sense of belonging, purpose, and opportunity to thrive. Our wellbeing strategy aims to support the numerous social challenges our team members encounter from living and working in Wakatipu, including; Shift work and irregular sleeping patterns; diet and exercise; substance awareness; cost considerations for staff living on budgets; social pressures; and being isolated and disconnected from family.


Last year we set an objective to train the same number of Physical First Aiders to Mental Health First Aiders within the business. We are on track to achieving this goal in 2021, even with the disruption from Covid. Currently, we have trained 30+ team members in Mental Health First Aid through St John, Red Cross and MH101. Our next St John course will be held at Millbrook later in the year where another 20 team members will be trained. Mel Haarer has also delivered her Five Ways to Wellbeing educational workshop programs on two occasions, pre and post Covid, 2019/2021. The cornerstone of our wellbeing strategy is based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing framework. We create opportunities for team members to connect with each other at Millbrook through wellbeing workshops, social club events, team newsletters, social media and daily team lunches offered complimentary in the staff canteen. At Millbrook we have created opportunities for paid volunteering days for the team to give back to the community and advocate volunteering. We have delivered wellbeing workshops from local coaches Mel Haarer and Adam Chalmers. Adam’s recent Explore Your Potential workshop was tailored for Millbrook’s leadership team on resilience, and another was held for team members in early 2021. Two tailored breathing workshops were also delivered by Emma Ferris in 2020 and 2021. Emma is a breathing coach and physiotherapist. The key messages in these workshops are for us to pay more attention to the present moment, to our thoughts and feelings and the world around us as this boosts our wellbeing. Millbrook also advocates LinkedIn Learning to all team members which is accessible 24/7 for both personal and professional development, as well as other learning opportunities.


The execution of the wellbeing strategy is based from the Five Ways to Wellbeing. Mel Haarer, Wellbeing Coach from Connect and Care was a key facilitator in delivering the strategy and message for the business with the launch of the Five Ways to Wellbeing workshops within the business. Mel’s insightful knowledge and experience within tourism and hospitality, and passion for meditation/mindfulness allowed the workshops to be tailored to our industry. On 24th June 2021 the company delivered a Positive Leadership workshop to Millbrook’s senior leadership team. Our workshops facilitator, Pete Cammock from Leadership Lab, covered the importance of personal foundations for leadership such as the foundations of resilience and personal wellbeing, including diet, exercise, sleep, mindfulness, burnout, and mental fitness. One of the excellent staff benefits offered at Millbrook is for team members to join the resort’s Health & Fitness Centre at a heavily discounted and competitive rate. Each year we also offer a Spring Challenge bootcamp to all team members, where our expert Personal Trainers deliver three complimentary fitness classes each week over a six-week period. Last year Millbrook’s Spa & Wellbeing Manager, Michelle Batchelor, tailored the Spring Challenge to be a dedicated week of wellbeing, which included everything from meditation classes, intention setting workshops, yoga and pilates– all delivered by our talented health & fitness team. We recognised it had been a challenging year for all, and this changed the bootcamp’s focus to be an overall wellbeing week that team members could immerse themselves into.

Engagement and communication

Our communication around wellbeing is facilitated via our quarterly team newsletter ‘The Babbling Brook’ and through our ‘Staff Hub’ Facebook group. Millbrook delivered a ‘wellbeing focused month’ in February 2021, posting on our team’s Facebook group thoughtful messages, useful information, and wellbeing exercises. Millbrook’s People & Culture Manager, Katie Church, also connects with external resources by attending Inter-Agency meetings to ensure our business has the best pastoral care program in-place for the team. We experience high engagement with the wellbeing workshops that we deliver, which is measured from the attendance and also the team interactions within the workshops and post workshop evaluations. Also, the team Facebook page shows high engagement with reactions and comments on wellbeing posts.


We have received extremely positive feedback and high attendance from the wellbeing educational workshops that have been delivered at Millbrook Resort. Covid highlighted the importance of wellbeing within the workplace. Whilst the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) had been implemented at Millbrook Resort several years ago, since Covid we have increased our “advocacy” of this programme, and have seen positive improvement with team members utilising the service. For example, during our businesses on-boarding process we have increased the number of touch points to help encourage programme usage, educate our team members on the free services provided, and strongly encourage team members to download the app. From our EAP usage report, we identified an increase in staff anxiety after Covid, therefore, recent wellbeing programmes have focused specifically on breathing techniques to help understand and utilise as a tool to manage anxiety in everyday life. Thus far, we have achieved our goal to deliver a wellbeing focused educational experience each quarter in 2020 and 2021, whether it be a cost-effective initiative or investing in facilitators to run educational workshops. This collective strategy ensures a sustainable wellbeing programme that is scalable for our business and in-turn strengthens our pastoral care for our team members. Furthermore, by “empowering” our team members with education and knowledge across various wellbeing techniques, this will help improve individual resilience during times of uncertainty and enhance our team members wellbeing capability and overall attitude towards stress management.


Millbrook Resort is a dedicated member of the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment, which has a vision to lead the world in sustainable tourism. As part of our commitment Millbrook embraces the following values: Kaitiakitanga The guardianship and protection of our natural, built and cultural resources for the benefit of current and future generations. Manaakitanga Showing respect, hospitality, generosity and care for others. Whanaungatanga A relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. Millbrook follows and promotes the Tiaki Promise by committing to care for New Zealand, for now and for future generations. Te reo Māori has very much been considered with the facilitation of Millbrook’s wellbeing programme. In the Five Ways to Wellbeing workshop delivered in April our facilitator, Mel Haarer, introduces Te Whare Tapa Wha, the Maori Health Model. The model includes Taha tinana (physical wellbeing), taha hinengaro (mental wellbeing), taha wairua (spiritual wellbeing), taha whanau (family wellbeing) and whenua (land) forms the foundation for the other four dimensions. Mel recognises the strength of this model and how the Five Ways framework compliments it. In this same workshop Mel welcomed the Millbrook team by introducing herself to the room in Te Reo. Mel is currently learning Maori and will be attending a Treaty of Waitangi education day on 7th July run by Darren Rewi, a representative of Ngai Tahu. Mel invited Darren to offer a Maori blessing before first delivering her training in 2018 and Darren blessed the community thinktanks Mel held in 2019. As a business we aspire to create and encourage an environment where our diverse workforce celebrates its differences, and where people can be their true “authentic” selves at work. Millbrook also encourages diversity and inclusiveness through celebrating initiatives such as Pink Shirt Day and Winter Pride.

Innovation and creativity

Millbrook has shown innovation and creativity by utilising external expert facilitators to deliver our wellbeing workshops and programmes. This investment into our team member’s personal and professional development has already improved positive mental health and productivity within our business. The qualitative and quantitative data from post workshop evaluations demonstrate to us the value in delivering these to our team members. Post analysis has displayed high levels of team engagement. For example, in the Five Ways to Wellbeing workshop 100% of our attendees reported enjoying its content and delivery method. Mel’s programmes are actionable and encourages participants to set their own intention and implementation plan before reconvening. For example, logging and reflecting on practical tasks such as mindfulness and exercise goals. A community approach is also encouraged, inviting broader participation, and resulting in a community ripple effect, ie. friends/whanau, enhancing connections and motivation to maximise overall broader health and happiness. We observe these deliverables as longer-term positive outcomes for our staff. LinkedIn Learning also offers wellbeing webinars accessible to team members 24/7 on any device. In addition, we received feedback from colleagues regarding their financial wellbeing and have collaborated with BNZ to deliver a financial wellbeing programme with budgeting tools for team members to utilise Five Ways to Wellbeing workshop testimonials include: “Yes, I found this workshop very motivational. It helped open up many doors. I have already shared the 1737 number on my social media for my peers. I will try and continue to stay motivated with what I have learnt. I have had a lot of issues and problems growing up and the awareness and help I have learnt about has helped me a lot.” “The exercises were great. Thank you very much Mel, you are helping the community and those who need it and making more people aware.”

Supporting materials (optional)

Photograph of key staff (optional)

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Referee details


0210771471 • [email protected]

Key contact

Katie Church, People & Culture Manager (Millbrook Resort)

021810890 • [email protected]

3 Months
Since posted
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