The eyes have it: Scott Kennedy's Lumify effort, dubbed 'How Soon is Now?', a reminder of what bubble-life felt like.


Homes and businesses will light up across the Wakatipu this weekend for Lumify, with organisers hoping to cut through the Covid-19 darkness.

The home-made Queen’s Birthday weekend event replaces the annual Luma, a festival of lights that normally draws thousands to Queenstown Gardens.

One of the organisers, Sunny Sky, wants everyone in the Wakatipu to pimp their houses and gardens for the long weekend, using whatever they can get their hands on.

“You don’t have to spend money, you can use what you have got, like Christmas lights.”

Luma was one of the early victims of Covid-19, pulling the pin in March.

But Sky hopes its replacement can “shine a light for those still in darkness, as there are lots of people out of work”.

Debbie Townsend says teddy bears in the windows and painted rocks on trails during lockdown inspired the idea.

“We thought ‘why don’t we do something with lights?”‘

Although the Lumify team, with support from Luma and its partners, have been active in promoting the idea, much of what’s planned has happened organically.

Plans afoot: Naylor Love’s Bruce Halligan, Greg Boland and Hayley Stockdale with Lumify’s Sunny Sky and Debbie Townsend and Luma’s Janey Rae and Dunca Forsyth

Luma’s Duncan Forsyth wants to see Lumify incorporated into the main festival in future years.

“We have always wanted to get businesses involved and now Naylor Love’s said they want to do something.

“Next year we want to see half-a-dozen businesses stop and say ‘we want to do better than that’.”

Naylor will light up several of its sites, including the gargantuan crane dominating the central Queenstown skyline.

Project manager Hayley Stockdale says the team got involved in a bid to raise low spirits after lockdown.

“Originally we planned a light installation at our O’Connells mall site, which would kickstart the 110-year Naylor Love celebrations.

“However after our other project sites got wind of our plans, they decided to jump on the bandwagon too and you’ll find all of our sites across Queenstown will have some element of light installation too.”

Lumify’s Janey Rae says the idea has taken hold far beyond Queenstown – Wanaka, Cromwell and other areas are also planning to light up in support.