The Queenstown Lakes community were recently invited to have a say in the future of a cultural plan for the entire district at a series of public drop-in sessions.
The ‘Community Voice’ sessions are part of an information-gathering mission by the newly formed Three Lakes Cultural Trust, which aims to create the region’s first indicative Cultural Masterplan.
Though it is supported by the Queenstown Lakes District Council, the Trust is independently funded by members of the community. Its vision is to enrich the quality of life in the region and to ensure culture plays a stronger role in supporting social and economic vitality and resilience within the district. The project has had great feedback from the community, with more than 150 attendees across the Community Voice meetings and has had more than 800 responses to an online survey.
Global cultural consultancy firm AEA Consulting was commissioned to lead and facilitate the meetings and research. AEA has worked with the likes of Shakespeare’s Globe, the New York Philharmonic and the Grand Egyptian Museum and will assist the Trust to create a draft Cultural Masterplan based on its findings.
AEA and the Trust held the Community Voice meetings in Arrowtown, Glenorchy, Queenstown and Wanaka. These engaging conversations have confirmed some of the key findings of the cultural consultation so far and have identified some common concerns and aspirations.
Much of the discussion thus far has focussed on a few key needs: the need for more coordinated communication within the arts community and with audiences; a desire for
improved cultural infrastructure to accommodate larger-scale visiting visual and performing arts shows; and the need for a cultural hub (or hubs) to support community arts practice and training in the district.
Trust chair, Bill Moran, says the feedback received from the wider community is essential in forming a well-rounded strategy that reflects the needs of everyone.
“Clearly, we have confirmed there is great level of interest, need, opportunity and depth of talent to provide a variety of cultural opportunity across the entire district. LUMA light festival, Wanaka’s Festival of Colour and the Michael Hill Violin Competition are recent excellent examples of the quality and vision of culture we have currently happening within our district,” he says.
“We were excited throughout the Community Voice sessions to experience the obvious passion the community has and that our district is not only looking at the current generation, but also future generations for cultural provision. We experienced clear and far-
sighted views, in relation to the current issues and in terms of where the community wants to be. It’s about leaving our community better for those who come after us.
“From here, it is about ensuring the Cultural Masterplan is a true reflection of the voice of the community,” says Bill.
AEA Consulting is now incorporating the community feedback into the recommendations that are being developed for the indicative Cultural Masterplan, due to be completed and made public in September 2019.