New arts facility opened

An astounding public effort, to deliver ongoing benefits for the Queenstown Lakes arts and cultural community, was officially celebrated yesterday.

Nine months after the Te Atamira Whakatipu Community Trust took possession of keys to two tenancies at Frankton’s Remarkables Park shopping centre, the resort’s new arts and cultural facility, for which just over $3million has been raised, was opened.

Yesterday afternoon, invited guests got their first look inside Te Atamira, which includes a regional gallery, youth space, recording studio, performance spaces, dance studios and itinerant music and visual arts studios.

At the mihi whakatau, led by Ngai Tahu kaumatua Darren Rewi, Southland MP Joseph Mooney described the finished product as a "truly bold step" to support the creative community.

"There’s a saying that’s really apt — ‘ home is where the art is’.

Queenstown fundraising queen Kaye Parker (centre left) and Te Atamira patron Jan, Lady Edgar ...
Queenstown fundraising queen Kaye Parker (centre left) and Te Atamira patron Jan, Lady Edgar (centre right), following a mihi whakatau at Queenstown’s new arts and cultural facility yesterday, surrounded by Te Atamira trustees and employees, and Queenstown Lakes District Council and Cook Brothers Construction representatives.PHOTO: TRACEY ROXBURGH

"And now we have one here.

 

"The pandemic’s really emphasised how important community connections are and creative community-building programmes, like this, are enormously important."

Te Atamira trustee Sam Nelson paid tribute to its patron, Jan, Lady Edgar, and the entire Edgar family, including the late Sir Eion who, "being the original man of action, would be very proud to see what’s been achieved".

Mr Nelson said bringing the project to fruition, at pace, in a pandemic, had presented some challenges.

"It needs the stars to align, a bit of good luck, a hell of a lot of determination and the right people to get in behind the vision."

Two of the first were Abby McCormick O’Neil and Carroll Joynes, who joined yesterday’s celebration remotely from Chicago, he said.

"There was never a point where you didn’t believe it couldn’t be done.

"Queenstown does owe you a debt of gratitude."

Te Atamira development director Olivia Egerton and her team had lived and breathed the project for more than a year, Mr Nelson said.

"We now have a fit-for-purpose, vibrant and really cool cultural and arts hub where Queenstown’s arts renaissance can continue to flourish.

"The artistic residents of Te Atamira now have a place to call home and can continue to work, practice, train and champion young people into the arts."

Mrs Egerton thanked the donors for helping realise a "community dream", and the designers, planners, project managers and builders, all of whom had worked as "one team with one dream".

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult said it was no secret he believed Queenstown was "the most beautiful part of the entire world".

"How then, is a facility that promotes and enables expressions of art and culture in the heart of the most stunning part of the world, going to be anything other than immensely successful?"

tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz

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