The midwinter magic of the Southern Alps.


We’re halfway through winter, and though it’s a quiet time in the festival office, we still have lots to do. We’re well into planning for the 2019 Festival of Colour (April 2-7, 2019), and Festival Director Philip Tremewan is currently taking in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world, to see what treasures he can find to bring back for our audiences. He’s also going to hear some of the writers at the Edinburgh Book Festival and a few shows at the International Festival –  Edinburgh is truly Festival City!

Here in Wanaka, the focus has been on fundraising. We are putting together another world class programme for our audiences – one which again includes free community events and a wide-ranging schools programme – and we are reaching out to our friends in Wanaka and beyond to help us fund our festival.

See below for information on how to become a Patron or Benefactor supporter, and how to renew if you’ve supported us in the past.

And if you would like to get involved as a business Sponsor, please get in touch with GM Laura Williamson – we have sponsorship opportunities for businesses of all sizes. You can email Laura on, or call the office on 443 4172. She loves coffee, and would love to share one with you.

Thank you to everyone who is already supporting us – our festival is a costly endeavour, and you make it all possible for our community.

With this in mind, this month we are thrilled to welcome back beSure Tailored Insurance and Florence’s Foodstore and Café as Local Business Sponsors – another two brilliant Wanaka businesses who love to see the arts flourish in Wanaka.

The Wanaka App is working with the Festival of Colour again as a Media Partner. We’ll be popping up again on the App with our festival pop up button next year. And thank you to Queenstown Lakes District Council who are helping us through their Events Funding programme.


It hasn’t been all about work though – we’ve been taking in the stunning conditions at our local ski resorts, Treble Cone and Cardrona Alpine Resort, too – Laura took the picture above out back at Cardrona.

The 2019 Festival of Colour will take place from April 2 to 7 – save the dates!

Focus on youth

Our favorite clown Fraser Hooper on the streets of Wanaka during the 2017 Festival of Colour.
PHOTO: Oh Three Photography
In June, we held two focus groups with locals aged 45 and younger. Participants shared feedback and ideas with us as part of making sure the Festival of Colour and Aspiring Conversations are available to, and appealing to, a broad range of audiences, while still honouring the community that has supported us from the start.

We heard a lot of great ideas, and are already looking into a number of them. Some planned initiatives include:

  • getting the Festival of Colour out onto the streets of Wanaka more
  • upgrading our online and social media presence
  • doubling up on popular sessions where possible to increase availability.

We will also be running focus groups later this year with some of our Patron and Benefactor supporters to find out what our long-term festival fans have on their minds. Watch this space!

Literature alert: Bridget Williams Books Winter Series


We’ve had a long association with Bridget Williams Books at the Festival of Colour and Aspiring Conversation, with some of our most talked about sessions featuring their authors, from Holly Walker to Max Harris to Siouxsie Wiles.

If you’re in one of the main centres over the next two months, it’s definitely worth checking out the BWB Winter Series.

Coming up this month, Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw author of the new BWB Text, A Matter of Fact: Talking Truth in a Post-Truth World, will be leading panel discussions in Auckland and Wellington.

In Dunedin, historian Barbara Brookes will discuss women’s history through the lens of objects and images from the Otago Museum collection, and Damon Salesa will be giving a public lecture on the question, “What would it mean for New Zealand to act like a Pacific Island nation?”

Support our festival!

One of the things that makes our festival unusual is the large degree of private support we get from individuals in our community. We can proudly say Wanaka owns its own arts festival!

A very big thank you to the Patrons and Benefactors who have already renewed for 2019, you’re early support gives us confidence in planning our next programme.

If you haven’t renewed yet, or if you would like to become a Patron or Benefactor, here are a few easy ways to do it now:

  • renew and buy memberships online through the Festival of Colour website
  • direct deposit your donation into our Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust bank account with your name as a reference
  • post or drop off a cheque to the festival office: PO Box 630, Wanaka, 9343
  • get directly in touch with General Manager Laura Williamson at, or on 443 4172.

Patron or Benefactor supporters enjoy a priority booking period for tickets, invites to Festival functions and an abundance of good karma.

What’s on in our region

Objection’ and ‘Don’t Touch That’
August 3 – 24
Gallery 33, Helwick Street, Wanaka

On now at Gallery 33, the duo show featuring Thomas Hancock’s ‘Objection’ and Wanaka artist Jane Shriffer’s ‘Don’t Touch That’ is a colourful and rich exhibition with a fun contrast of figurative and abstract painting.

Tall Tales & True: Stories told out loud
August 15, 16 and 17, 7pm
Wanaka Yacht Club, Wanaka

An evening of true stories told out loud. Seven storytellers tell seven stories based on truths, loose and otherwise. From Shackleton’s cat to tales of netball court trauma, from an unconventional birth to a creepy look inside the mind of an “incel” – narratives to make you laugh, cringe, well up, and wonder. Tickets from Pembroke Wines (CASH only) or text 027 414 1785.

Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ
Friday 24 August – Saturday 8 September
Queenstown, Wanaka and Naseby

The sixth edition of the Audi quattro Winter Games New Zealand, an elite international Winter sports event taking place during August and September 2018 in Queenstown, Wanaka and Naseby. The world’s best will compete in freestyle skiing and snowboarding World Cups and the FIS Junior Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships 2018.