Winter is here in Wanaka and we’re keeping warm by starting work on the 2020 Aspiring Conversations festival of ideas. We already have two high-profile speakers booked as well as a group of fantastic musicians.
Next year’s “time for thinking” will take place from Friday evening April 3 to Sunday afternoon April 5 – save the dates!

The Kugels – live at Hawea Flat Hall

Can’t wait for our next festival? We’ve got you covered with Klezmer.

The Festival of Colour is thrilled to be bringing The Kugels, New Zealand’s favourite Klezmer band, to the Hawea Flat Hall on September 7. The band features three former members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, as well as top New Zealand composer and Arts Laureate Ross Harris.

The folk idiom of the Jewish people, Klezmer was originally played at weddings and other celebrations in Eastern and Central Europe. The music gained popularity in America with the arrival of Yiddish speaking immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, assimilating jazz elements into the mix.

Wild-spirited and haunting, it’s music that makes you want to dance.

When: Saturday September 7 @ 7pm
Where: Hawea Flat Hall (Cnr Camphill Road and St Ninians Way, Hawea Flat)
Tickets: $30 adults / $20 students from

Tickets on sale from 9am on Monday August 12.

Earlybird sales for Patrons, Benefactors and Sponsors of the Festival of Colour from 9am on Wednesday August 7.

Thank you to Arts on Tour for sending The Kugels our way!

Power to the People?

Journalist, academic and former Aspiring Conversations speaker Max Rashbrooke will visit Wanaka soon thanks to LINK Upper Clutha and Ignite Wanaka Chamber of Commerce.

His talk, “Power to the People? Leading Change in Wanaka and New Zealand”, will see the author of Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis and Government for the Public Good take on topics like market vs government influence, balance of power in communities, and effective engagement.

When: Thursday August 1 @ 7pm
Where: Armstrong Room, Lake Wanaka Centre
Tickets: $10 on the door, students free. Refreshments provided.


Sponsors’ corner: thank you to our supporters


Welcome back to our two Gold Aspiring Conversations sponsors, who are with us again for 2020. Long-time supporters Milford Asset Management will return again as naming sponsors of or festival of ideas, and we are again presenting “the Conversations” in association with global consultancy firm McKinsey and Company.


And we ‘re thrilled to welcome back the team at Bayleys Wanaka as Bronze sponsors for 2020, as well as BeSure – Tailored Insurance and Latin Link Adventure who are all joining us as Local Business Sponsors for Aspiring Conversations – supporters like these lovely locals enable us to bring the very best of arts and ideas to our community.

Thank you also to the Events team at Queenstown Lakes District Council for supporting us through this year’s events funding round.