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Richard Scott

Trades Foreman, Citycare Property

19 December 2023

If something needs fixing around the airport campus, Richard Scott is the man we call. Lately, he’s been busy putting up the airport’s Christmas trees. Find out how he does it and discover more of his story.

How long have you been with Citycare Property? Six years. I actually started working at the airport in 1985, then worked for Air New Zealand for 16 years. I rejoined the airport company in 2006, and in 2017 we were transferred over to Citycare.

What's your role? I'm a trades foreman. My skill base is carpentry and I'm part of a small team along with a couple of chippies and a painter. Most of our work is done here on the airport campus.

What do you love most about your job? The variety of work is very rewarding. Every day is a different day, and every job is a different job. We’ve got to be prepared for whatever turns up, from repairing storm damage to putting up Christmas trees. Whatever happens, we've got to be Johnny on the spot and make it work for the next day.

What do you enjoy about being based at the airport? Being based at the airport does have some perks, like the time we got to see inside the Concorde back in 1989. The work environment is really positive too. The staff and customers are friendly and good to deal with, and when we achieve what they want they're a whole lot happier!

What’s your involvement with the airport Christmas trees? The airport puts a lot of effort into the Christmas theme. There are eight Christmas trees and a whole heap of garlands strung up around International Departures. We spend about three days getting the trees out and setting them up. Once they're up, a crew of ‘fluffers’ come in to add the decorations.

How do you set up such huge trees? Our biggest tree is the one outside the main entrance - it’s 8m high with a star on top. It’s made of big circular ringlets that stack on top of each other, with branches clipped on the outside. It's virtually hollow inside, so has to be weighed down by four one-tonne water containers. We put up the frame with a hiab, then the Airport Fire Service team fills up the containers with water.

It must be fun seeing people react to the trees. What feedback do you get? People love them. Seeing the trees gets them excited for Christmas. They enjoy looking at the lights and it’s a great photo opportunity for children and tourists. We get heaps of compliments on a job well done.

How does your tree at home compare? My home set-up is much simpler. I just pull a pre-lit tree out of the box!

What's your favorite thing about Christmas? Sitting back and enjoying a nice lunch—turkeys and pavlovas and that type of stuff—with my family and relations. This time of year is for catching up with friends and hopefully enjoying some nice holiday weather.

Any personal highlights from 2023? Running my first marathon. I took up running four years ago. My workmates said I needed a target and enrolled me in the Queenstown half marathon. So I did that and haven't looked back, I just keep doing them! I really enjoy going to different locations—Buller, Hawkes Bay, Noosa. It's fun to get out and experience different adventures.

Anything exciting coming up for you in 2024? Another one of my hobbies is fishing. My ambition for next year is to catch a fish with my fly-fishing rod—which I have not yet managed to do! Also on the adventure list is to cycle the Old Ghost Road. Retirement is probably on the horizon at some point too. No doubt I’ll miss this place, but I’ve got fish to catch.