Winter scene from the Festival team looking towards Lake Hāwea and Isthmus Peak on our first snow day for the year.

Kia ora Festival Whānau,

Manawatia a Matariki! Here we are in the middle of winter, and what a winter so far. Our greatest performer at large, mother nature, treating us to great snow storm events covering our three local ski fields. This has provided some early skiing conditions for Wānaka locals to enjoy before the crowds return with the welcomed re-opening of borders. This time has also marked our very first public acknowledgment in the form of a holiday and celebration of Matariki.

The Festival team have been busy working with our Board and key stakeholder community on some exciting new developments that will be revealed in due course. Sophie Kelly, our Art Director, has had the opportunity to travel abroad and attend Rising Festival in Melbourne, bringing back inspiration for Festival of Colour 2023 programming. Funding applications are in full-swing and as we are a non-profit organisation this is core to our operations, along with funding we gratefully receive from our Sponsors, Benefactors and Patrons.

We are thrilled to have Milford Asset Management come on board with us again to help see us confidently through our next Festival. Read More Here.

It has been wonderful to have a steady stream of public performances about our community again. Please read on for the details of fantastic events on now and upcoming in Wānaka including the Hāwea Flat School Art exhibition, NZ Secondary School’s Choir and The Allusionist – Helen Zaltzman. We are thrilled to promote and share these with you so you can enjoy and support the Arts outside of our Festivals.

If you would like to get in touch with the Festival of Colour at any time, you can contact us via We are in the office on a Tuesday and Thursday from 9am to 5pm to answer your call if you would also like to talk to us – 03 443 4172.

Until next time, enjoy our newsletter and stay warm,

The Festival of Colour Team:
Charlie Unwin, Sophie Kelly, Anna McConville & Ruth Heath.


Hāwea Flat School art exhibition 

Hāwea Flat School presents their senior school art exhibition until the 22nd of July at the Wānaka Community Hub – ‘I Matter, You Matter, We Matter’. This is a collection of art varying in medium created by the students who have been under the guidance of artists in our community – Tony O’Keefe (sculpture), Kym Beaton (painting), Glen Howie (photography) and Liz Hawker (printmaking).

Running alongside the exhibition are silent auctions of different art pieces donated by various artists in our community as a fundraiser for the school.

The exhibition runs for 3 weeks in total, is free of charge and open to all.


NZ Secondary Students’ Choir

The internationally awarded national choir for secondary school singers is back in Wānaka for Sunday 17th July, 4pm. Bringing their “infectious joy for music-making” to the Lake Wānaka Centre, the choir will present a wide range of music from classical choral to gospel, jazz, modern, and music from New Zealand and the Pacific – repertoire from Eric Whitacre, Antonio Lotti, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Puanaki whānau, David N Childs and crowd favourite, a bit of toe-tapping Toto!

The choir of 53 singers, selected at nationwide auditions, join for a two year cycle. “The repertoire that we sing in this choir is so diverse and fresh. It’s not that choral music you’d expect. The choir is one of the best sounding in Aotearoa, and we have so much fun performing the pieces. Anyone who sings in choirs or just for fun as a hobby should come and hear us perform” – Charle Rainey, NZSSC member

Music Director Sue Densem has been with the NZSSC since 2019, through the “COVID years” and has faced a lot of disruption, including two cancelled international tours. The Southern Stars Tour stands in place of the NZSSC’s tour to Tasmania, with ticketed concerts in Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch and Wānaka, and casual performances at Aoraki Mt Cook and Queenstown.

Bring the whole family – under 12s are free, and concessions are available.

“The audience was enthralled and totally absorbed in everything they heard and saw, from start to finish. … Little wonder that the audience was on its feet at the end in a prolonged standing ovation in appreciation of a superb concert where all the singers continually projected the pleasure they gained from singing and sharing this with an appreciative audience.” – Hawke’s Bay Today

Tickets can be purchased via:


‘The Allusionist’, AKA Helen Zaltzman, is coming to town! 

Helen Zaltzman is a multiple award-winning podcast host and producer. Her linguistics podcast The Allusionist was the first show created especially for the prestigious Radiotopia network. ‘Answer Me This’, the comedy show she co-founded with Olly Mann in 2007, is one of Britain’s most successful independent podcasts.

Helen returns to NZ with her latest show, ‘Your Name Here’. The show’s linguistic pincers get stuck into words that come from people’s names: eponyms. Eponyms find themselves all over menus, hats, exercise manoeuvres, streets, towns, measurements, flowers, space, guns, diseases… Sometimes they’re an honour, sometimes they’re an insult, but they’re always a good story. Join host Helen Zaltzman and musician Martin Austwick for a fun, fascinating and irreverent adventure into the chaotic world of words.

Thanks to some good teamwork amongst Helen’s fans here in Wānaka, namely at The Wānaka Library with chocolate support from The Chocolate Workshop, Helen is bringing her show to the Lake Wānaka Centre on Saturday the 6th of August from 6.30pm-8pm. And what’s more is that the event is free!

Book Your Ticket Here


Moana Jackson – Portrait of a Quiet Revolutionary


Way back in 2011, we featured an Aspiring Conversation session with Moana Jackson. Moana Maniapoto has recently released her beautiful documentary about him: Moana Jackson – Portrait of a Quiet Revolutionary.

Click here to view


How the Arts inspire climate action

Track Zero works with the arts, science and other sectors to tell the climate story in ways that engage people’s hearts and minds – inspiring transformative climate change action. They have recently sent out their round up for the past year including their ‘Through the Eye of the Lens’ – a photogr

aphy project for young people focussing on climate change – how do young people and artists view climate change? This project was part of the Festival of Colour last year, involving two local photographers working with students in our community. Click the image to see the resulting photographs in Track Zero’s online exhibition.


Be Someone Who Makes It Happen!

The Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust is a non for profit charitable organisation that runs the Festival of Colour Arts Festival and our off-year event, Aspiring Conversations Ideas Festival.

Planning and delivering both of these events is a huge financial undertaking and would not be possible without the support from the community.  We invite you to consider supporting us by becoming a Patron or Benefactor of the Trust so we can:

  • Bring our community together for unforgettable arts experiences
  • Host speakers who address issues that matter to the people who live here
  • Offer an incredible schools programme to our young people
  • Keep tickets affordable so everyone can enjoy our festivals
  • Commission fantastic new works of art

Click here to join us

Performing Arts Centre

If you would like to contribute and support the process towards a new Performing Arts Centre please click here to access all the information regarding this important cause.

Benefactors & Patrons

We are eternally grateful for your continued support of our Festivals and bringing the Arts to Wānaka. Please let us know if there is anything we can assist you with, or to update your information at any time. Please feel free to email Ruth directly –