Here to help: Wakatipu Music Festival mentors, back, from left, Sheena Haywood, Mandy Horan, Ann Wyatt, Sarah Campbell and Anna van der Leij and front, Anne Rodda, left, and Kinga Krupa


A rare opportunity to launch a career in the arts sector, through paid apprenticeships, is  being offered by the Wakatipu Music Festival in partnership with the Three Lakes Cultural Trust.

The festival, presented by the Hill family, was announced last July to replace this year’s  11th edition of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition.

It’s run every two years since 2001, with Queenstown hosting the first two rounds before  the finals in Auckland.

But given the impacts of Covid on global travel, the event’s board made the early call last  year to can the 2021 event, replacing it with the classical music festival.

It’ll bring together New Zealand’s outstanding emerging artists and leading professional musicians with local performers, grassroots music initiatives and dedicated local and national educators.

Festival comms manager Anna van der Leij says, often, coveted roles in Whakatipu’s arts sector are snapped up by those with overseas experience.

So it’s opened applications for nine paid apprenticeships for anyone who has a passion for  the arts.

Applicants have to be based in Central Otago, legally be able to work in New Zealand and have an interest and knowledge in areas like marketing and comms, catering, AV tech, stage management and production.

Van der Leij says the successful apprentices will be mentored by a professional, who’s a leader in their field, and work with the talent to deliver the presentation of this year’s Wakatipu Music Festival, being held between June 4 and 7.

Expressions of interest close on Monday, March 22 — for more information, or to apply, visit

Meantime, festival tickets will go on sale next month.