One of the Southern Lakes Festival of Colour's new
trustees says he has always loved music and drama and ''grew up
Mark Verbiest is chairman of the board of directors of
Telecom and Transpower and is also a trustee of Wellington's
New Zealand Festival.
Mr Verbiest told the Otago Daily Times recently he had
been visiting Wanaka for about 35 years, had owned a house in
the town for about 10 years and he and wife Sally moved
permanently from Wellington over a year ago.
He recently accepted an invitation from festival board
chairwoman Hetty Van Hale to join the board.
The week-long, biennial festival includes theatre, music,
dance and the visual arts and will next be held in April
Mr Verbiest noted it had become more difficult for arts
events to get sponsorship from corporations because it was
hard to show ''tangible benefits for shareholders beyond the
He did not believe Telecom and Transpower would decide to
help the Festival of Colour financially simply because he was
''Those decisions are left up to management to come up with a
strategy that's right for the company.''
But Mr Verbiest said he ''knew a lot of people'', including
many who had houses in Wanaka and had strong business
''So it's a matter of tapping them and getting the festival
to grow as an event not just for the people of Wanaka.''
Mr Verbiest said he had always loved music, drama and opera
and would ''love to see an opera in Wanaka, but that would be
a tall ask''.
''We could probably do it on a reduced scale. You could
probably do something outdoors ... ''Asked about past
problems in Wanaka with a lack of mobile phone capacity
during major events, Mr Verbiest said he was not aware of
''I know we keep a pretty regular watch on capacity
constraints around the place, particularly in places like
Wanaka where a lot of people come at certain times of the
Mr Verbiest said a mix of technology and regular flights in
and out of Queenstown allowed him carry on his business
dealings, and a lot of people were commuting out of
Queenstown Airport to Auckland, Wellington and even
Three trustees - Prue Wallis, Victoria Murray-Orr and Nick
Brown - have stepped down and the board now consists of Ms
Van Hale, Wayne Findlay (treasurer), John Beattie, Lloyd
Davis, Suzanne Ellison, Caroline Hutchison, Lucy Lucas,
Dennis Schwarz, Miranda Spary, Mike Toepfer and Mr Verbiest.