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Making magic in Arrowtown: Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association manager Nicky Busst

By TRACEY ROXBURGH

The stars have aligned in Arrowtown.

Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association (APBA) manager Nicky Busst has revealed plans for the inaugural Arrowtown Matariki Lights, an event destined to become a must-do on the Whakatipu calendar.

Being held over the new public holiday long weekend, from June 24 till 26, Busst says  it’s been a year in the making after she first raised it during her interview process.

While the Arrowtown Preschool has held a Matariki event as a fundraiser for several years, Busst says they’ve ‘‘outgrown the facilities, the capabilities [and] the bureaucratic process that goes with health and safety and liquor licensing’’.

APBA, in conjunction with the Arrowtown Charitable Trust, is now picking up the torch and running with it, while still ensuring the fundraising element remains for the  preschool.

‘‘But, essentially we’re turning it into something bigger and better that’s going to  future-proof it for Arrowtown forever and bring, hopefully, heaps and heaps of visitors into our region.

‘‘I’m so excited about it.’’

First viewing: Arrowtown-based astrophysicist professor Brian Boyle captured this image of Matariki embedded in gas clouds between the stars late last year

While she doesn’t want to reveal all the secrets just yet, Busst says one of the key  aspects will be the Queenstown-based South Island Light Orchestra (SILO), which uses light, sound and sculpture, combined with interactivity and narratives to create  immersive experiences, which will take over Buckingham Street.

‘‘The team at SILO are magical and they really have understood what we’re trying to work with.

‘‘We’ve got some visual story-telling and projections down the main street of  Arrowtown, utilising our beautiful historic buildings, and we’ve got schools involved as well, incorporating art, projections and displays [and] kapa haka, of course.’’

They’re also using the expertise of Arrowtown-based astrophysicist professor Brian Boyle, who’ll bring some portable rigs to the town centre so people can have a go at stargazing and learn more about the night skies.

Busst says they’ve also worked closely with iwi to ensure the event’s culturally sensitive.

‘‘I’m really excited about what it’s going to bring, and all the little elements are about incorporating Arrowtown businesses and supporting local businesses.

‘‘It’s a free community event — it’s just about getting people together and getting back out, bringing people to our region and showcasing where we live.’’

Busst says they’re grateful for the generous funding support by various trusts and bodies, including Queenstown’s council, the Regional Events Fund, Connecting  Communities Fund, Central Lakes Trust and Community Trust South.

‘‘We wouldn’t have been able to achieve it without funding support because, obviously, these events are not cheap to put on, but really, it’s going to be very exciting.’’

Welcome to Winter celebration’s a goer

PICTURE: STEPHEN JAQUIERY

Welcome to Winter’s coming back.

The stand-in for Queenstown Winter Festival — last held in 2019 — is a collab between the Southern Lakes Events Investment Panel and Destination Queenstown, with funding
support from the Southern Lakes Regional Events Fund.

Set to run from July 7 to 10, the line-up includes a Queenstown Chamber of Commerce business lunch, Friday night fireworks, live music, markets, Republic Social Club bar and
food trucks, and a Queenstown Preschool and Nursery family treasure hunt.

More info and tickets will be released via Welcome to Winter’s Facebook page.

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz