Queenstown is at 45 degrees south latitude--a considerable distance from the South Pole. That's why the auroras looked red. Auroras circling the South Pole must reach very high above Earth's surface to be visible half a hemisphere away. At altitudes greater than ~200 km, auroras turn red. The ruby glow occurs when high energy particles from space hit oxygen atoms at the top of the atmosphere. Ionized molecular nitrogen adds a dash of purple to the high-altitude palette.
More red Southern Lights are possible on Nov. 18th or 19th when a new stream of solar wind is expected to arrive. The gaseous material is flowing from a relatively small hole in the sun's atmosphere. Queenstown stargazers, charge your cameras!