Deck master: Stuart Raeburn, better known around the traps in Queenstown as DJ Stubacca


QUEENSTOWN may not be known as a cultural mecca but for one local artist it was the  adventure capital that enabled him to forge a career in music.

Stuart Raeburn, better known by some as DJ Stubacca, is a stalwart of Queenstown’s nightlife.

If you’ve been out and about the last decade and a bit, you’ve likely heard him turning the decks from a plethora of establishments, most notably The World Bar.

Originally from Milton Keynes in the UK, Raeburn first arrived in New Zealand in 2006, a 23-year-old eager for some adventures.

It was after taking a regular gig as a mountain DJ with NZSki that things really began to take off for his career as a disc jockey.

“All the bars in town kind of started coming up and offering me work, which was very much the opposite to what I was used to in the UK, where you’d literally have to beg and fight for gigs,” he says.

From here he started to build a name for himself and started working with promoters to bring international DJs and artists into the resort.

“All the DJs that I kind of looked up to or really loved growing up, we ended up getting them to come over and play and I’ve either supported or promoted them.”

When asked if he’d ever consider moving home, the answer is simple.

“It’s hard to look back on the struggles of the UK and trying to make it in music to having Queenstown where you’re setting up your own future.”

Like everyone else in the arts and entertainment world, Raeburn’s career has been very much on hold the last two months.

But with toddler Obi being born a year-and-a-half ago, the Covid-19 era has allowed for some well overdue family time.

“That’s been really nice to kind of pull back and have that time with him … as when he was born I only had three nights off and then I was back DJing every night of the week.

“It’s been a really beautiful time to have that time with Obi and my partner … I’ve been non-stop since I got to NZ really.”

Moving ahead, Raeburn says he’s not naive about having to find work outside of DJing — something he’s impressively humble about.

“As long as I get the family time in and a bit of DJing on the weekend, that would be fine if I ended up in shops stacking shelves or whatever, I really wouldn’t mind.

“I’ve been so privileged to do what I’ve always wanted to do and get paid for it, you know there’s a lot of people out there that are willing to do that without getting paid for it.”

Across the last two months Raeburn has been in discussion with others in the nightlife and hospitality sector about how the future of the resort is going to look.

They’re certainly preparing for a scene that won’t be reliant on larger gatherings — being adaptable will be vital, he says.

“I see Queenstown still being good on a Friday and a Saturday night … I think I’ve just got to be ready to mould into whatever people want, whatever kind of music people want.

“Whatever we can kind of move with.

“If people want me to go into their bar and play a set that’s going to keep a bunch of older southern Invercargill towners happy, I’ll play whatever kind of works.”