Only a few days to go! 

Farah Palmer and Rosara Joseph

The 2022 Aspiring Conversations festival of ideas is going to be full of discussion about all the things that make our world tick including some of today’s most pressing issues.

Aspiring Conversations Programmer Philip Tremewan says the weekend promises to be informative, and inspiring, “We have an amazing range of speakers across topics that include politics, history, the media, and the climate crisis.”

We have already announced two exciting speaker sessions: ‘Wāhine Toa – Sports Women’ featuring Farah Palmer, former Black Ferns captain and Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and Rosara Joseph, a Commonwealth silver medallist, Olympic cyclist, and Rhodes Scholar. They will discuss the achievements of sportswomen in Aotearoa, as well as the challenges and barriers they face, in a session chaired by RNZ’s Kathryn Ryan. And ‘Death Becomes Us’, a session with Australian oncologist, award-winning author and Fulbright scholar, Dr Ranjana Srivastava. “In this time of disruption, it has never been more important to know our patients thoroughly – where they live, how they manage, who and what they care about.” – Dr Strivastava

The Aspiring Conversations programme has gone to print, and we will be sharing it with our stakeholders at our launch event on the evening of Monday, January 31st.

Directly afterwards it goes out to the world, so check out our website from 7pm on Monday 31 January:

From Tuesday 1 February, programmes will be available to pick up around Wānaka from cafes, shops, the library and accommodation providers.

Invitations have gone out for the launch, so if you’re a Sponsor, Benefactor or Patron, please check your emails (and junk mail!), and if you think you should have received an invitation and cannot find it, please get in touch with

2022’s Aspiring Conversations will be held at Lake Wānaka Centre from March 25-27.


Ticketing information

Get ready for our Aspiring Conversations festival of ideas, three days of thought-provoking discussion and performance in March of 2022.

Key dates:

  • Priority ticket sales for festival Sponsors, Benefactors, and Patrons: January 31st, 2022 from 7pm
  • General ticket sales start: February 11, 2022 from 8.30am
  • Aspiring Conversations festival of ideas: 25, 26, 27 March 2022

How to buy:

There are three ways to get tickets for the festival.

General tickets will be on sale from Friday 11 February from or via our ticketing telephone on 022 4 TIX NOW (022 4 849 669).

Or, come see the friendly staff at the Festival Box Office in the Lake Wānaka Centre for in-person sales on February 11, 8.30am to 2pm. The box office will also be open from 9am on Friday 25 March for any remaining sales.


Love our festivals? Show your support!

Our Patron and Benefactor supporters are a crucial part of our funding mix – ticket sales only cover a fraction of our costs for Aspiring Conversations. The rest of our expense are paid for through the support of grantmakers, sponsors and private supporters like you!

It’s easy to renew or join online here on our website!  Or you can direct deposit your donation into our Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust bank account with your name as a reference (contact for info).

You can join for the next two years as a Patron for $600 or a Benefactor for $2500 and be a part of bringing two wonderful festivals to Wānaka – your Patron or Benefactor membership covers both Aspiring Conversations and the Festival of Colour.  Our programme launch event on January 31, 2022, is exclusively for our Benefactors, Patrons and Sponsors.

Not sure if you need to renew? Check the list of current supporters HERE on the Aspiring Conversations website.


Sponsors’ corner

As well as our GOLD sponsor, Milford Asset Management, and our MAJOR GRANTS funders, Creative NZ, Otago Community Trust, Central Lakes Trust and QLDC, we are fortunate to have the support of a range of organisations.

Thank you to Maude Wines who have joined us as a SILVER sponsor of the 2022 Aspiring Conversations, and to our returning BRONZE sponsors, Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu, Paper Plus, Findex, Aspiring Law and PlaceMakers Wānaka. These businesses have been incredibly loyal supporters of our festivals, so please support them!

Also on board as LOCAL BUSINESS SPONSORS: Quartz Reef, Big Fig, Urban Grind, Ray White, Condon Scott Architects and, joining us this year, Fyfe Karamaena Lawyers. Thank you so much to these sponsors, your support is much appreciated!

Radio Wanaka and Wanaka App join us again as COMMUNICATION PARTNERS. Check in with to keep up to date with all the festival news.


Arts and events in our region

The Reminiscing’s of a ’90’s Teenager – Rebeca Barnes & Victory Band
Friday 28 January 2022 6:30pm and 8:30pm
The Blue Door, Arrowtown

Rebeca Barnes and Victory Band rediscover some iconic hits of the ’90’s when she was a teenager growing up in Yeppoon, Queensland. Back by popular demand, explore some of the iconic songs of the ’90’s with a good dose of expertise and humour, taking you back to when you bought the whole album, listened to every song, knew every word. Music has a way of making you reminisce. This show is for the 90s teenager in you.
For more info and tickets, see here.

Rebirth of the Cool with Ralph Miller Nonet
Saturday 29 January 2022 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Lake Wānaka Centre

Led by trumpeter Ralph Miller, a nine-piece ensemble of top jazz musicians from Dunedin and Christchurch. A concert that recreates the music and atmosphere of the original “Birth of the Cool” sessions recorded by Miles Davis and a host of legendary musicians of the Bebop era. This newly formed “Nonet” will expand upon these original compositions and present a range of unique and original solos for the Wānaka audience.
For more info and tickets, see here.

New Baroque Generation Ensemble presents: The Four Seasons
Monday 31 January 2022 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Rippon Vineyard

For more info and tickets, see here.