SHARE
First hurdle cleared: Inside what will soon be Te Atamira, Queenstown's new arts and cultural facility are, from left, Remarkables Park Town Centre manager Nick Lambert, of Stride, Te Atamira development director Olivia Egerton, Te Atamira Whakatipu Community Trust's Carroll Joynes, Queenstown councillor Craig 'Ferg' Ferguson, trust member Abby Joynes, and City Hall sport and rec boss Simon Battrick

By TRACEY ROXBURGH

The first major milestone for Queenstown’s new arts and cul ure facility’s been reached — and its first national partner has been confirmed.

Te Atamira Whakatipu Community Trust had until last Tuesday to raise $1.4 million to unlock access to a further $4m in grant funding for fitout and operations at the  Remarkables Park Town Centre site.

Ultimately, the almost 1400 square metres of space, spread across two different tenancies, will accommodate about 30 different arts and performing arts in the Whakatipu area
which, all going well, will be open in January — building consent was to have been lodged at the end of last week.

Development director Olivia Egerton says to have reached the funding target, particularly given the recent nation-wide lockdown, was ‘‘great news’’ and made possible because of
global support from people with links and passion for the Whakatipu, ‘‘keen to see arts and
culture flourish in the district’’.

‘‘It’s an initial milestone that’s pretty massive to have achieved.

‘‘I don’t know if it’s fully sunk in — the last couple of weeks have been a bit stressful, but it’s great news.’’

The trust’s also elated to confirm Youthtown Incorporated — established in 1932 — has come on board as a partner.

Egerton: ‘‘Queenstown’s actually one of the three fastest-growing regions in the country for
youth — second is South Auckland and third is Tauranga.

‘‘It’s been a real focus for [Youthtown] and they’ve been looking for a partner, and we just
fit so well for what they’re trying to achieve.’’

Youthtown CEO Fay Amaral says working together in the community and with young people
to develop programmes will drive better outcomes for the Whakatipu and Queenstown Lakes.

‘‘Our shared vision of empowering young people and providing them with opportunities to
engage in their community and design their futures is exciting.’’

Egerton says Te Atamira will prototype and implement existing Youthtown after-school and holiday programmes for five-to-18-year-olds, plan programming around key themes and be a link to other ‘‘spokes’’ in the community to offer youth activities and programmes that lift engagement and foster wellbeing.

‘‘We are so excited to collaborate with Fay and her team at this time of establishment – it is a huge opportunity for the Whakatipu to be able to learn from their extensive knowledge to support creative pathways for young people.’’

Meantime, the latest lockdown’s scuppered plans — at this stage — for a cafe in the larger
tenancy, she says.

‘‘All of those conversations have gone completely dead — which is not a surprise — but it
lends itself to other opportunities, like little pop-up things.’’

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz