With the short, cold days of June upon us, and skiing still a few days away, we’re in full planning mode for next year’s Festival of Colour. We’ve had some high-profile performers confirm for 2019, and the programme is already shaping up to knock your socks off.


Thanks to everyone who filled out our Aspiring Conversations survey. We had 212 respondents and they gave us the good news – our average satisfaction rating was 8.8 out of 10.

We had so many positive comments from our audiences:

“Keep up the awesome work. I’m blown away by the professionalism of the programme…WOW.”

“Just superb… I couldn’t fault the organisation or the variety and expertise of the speakers. The volunteers were outstanding.”

“Thank you for putting on such an interesting cross-section of people and speakers, in this day of fake news it’s so refreshing to come and hear the truth spoken.”

And our speakers had a great time too:

“I was delighted to be part of this very fine event and to meet you and quite a few other splendid people of Wanaka, not least the students at Mount Aspiring.”

A few of you commented on the comfort of the tiered seating in the Lake Wanaka Centre, and we are happy to report that Queenstown Lakes District Council installed new tiered seating in the venue in May.

Limited capacity was also a particular issue this year, with our ‘Working for Change’ talk featuring Jacinda Ardern and Mary Robinson proving to be our most in-demand session or performance ever.

We have submitted to the QLDC’s 10-year Plan and continue to work with council around the issue of venue capacity in Wanaka; we will also be doubling up on potentially popular performances where possible for the 2019 Festival of Colour to make sure more people get a chance to attend in-demand shows.

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


Our Prime Minister loves the arts,

and so do New Zealanders


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who also holds the Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio, spoke at the launch of Creative New Zealand’s ‘New Zealanders and the Arts: Attitudes, attendance and participation in 2017’ triennial survey in May.

The survey provides in-depth information on New Zealand’s market for arts and culture, and this year’s version has found that Kiwis are attending or participating in the arts more than ever. Eight out of ten New Zealanders have participated in the arts or attended an arts event, or both, in the last 12 months, a record high for arts engagement.

At the launch, the Prime Minister spoke of her hopes for New Zealanders and the arts (taking a dig at British pop singer James Blunt in the process!). “My goal … is that all New Zealanders, young or old, rural or urban, are able to access the arts in whatever form supports their wellbeing, even if it’s James Blunt,” she said.

“Early involvement in the arts helps our creative industries and it develops innovative thinkers with transferable skills that modern employers are looking for. It gives a whole person the skills they need in the changing future world.”

Sounds to like a good reason to come to an arts festival.

Spotlight on youth


Our team is always looking for ways to evolve to respond to the needs of our community, and this year our focus in on making sure the Festival of Colour and Aspiring Conversations is available to, and appealing to, younger audiences.

With this in mind, we are looking for feedback from locals aged 45 and younger – whether they have attended the festival or not.

General Manager Laura Williamson will be running two small discussion groups on Monday June 18th or Monday June 25th – both from 5.30pm at Gin & Raspberry. These will be informal sessions of about an hour each, with a focus on sharing thoughts about what we can do to make sure the Festival of Colour is an event that serves everyone in our region.

If you fall into this age group and would like to take part, please get in touch with Laura by email on laura@festivalofcolour.co.nz, or a call the festival office on 443 4172. There will be pizza and wine!

Festival of Colour funding update


We are thrilled to welcome Resene back as a SILVER sponsor of the 2019. Their colourful range of paints are a perfect match for us, and we loved how they looked outside the Central Lakes Trust Crystal Palace at the 2017 Festival of Colour.

Creative New Zealand have been with us from the start, and we would like to thank them for supporting us again through their Toi Uru Kahikatea investment programme, and though matched funding with our Gateway Partners, the team from Queenstown Airport.


Support our festival!


We are so grateful to our Patrons and Benefactors who support the Festival of Colour as private individuals.

The festival got its start in 2004 when a group of locals got together to plan an event that would bring high-quality arts, similar to those available in big centres like Auckland and Wellington, to Wanaka. The support of locals was crucial back then, and as the festival has grown has continued to be a key part of our funding mix, as well as a source of local pride – the Festival of Colour really belongs to the Wanaka community.

Thank you to the Patrons and Benefactors who have already renewed for 2019!

And if you haven’t renewed yet, there are a few easy ways to do it now:

  • renew your membership online through the Festival of Colour website
  • direct deposit your donation into our Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust back 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 laura@festivalofcolour.co.nz, or on 443 4172.

Early commitment from our supporters helps us plan our next programme, so please feel free to get in touch with Laura to talk about options for supporting the festival, or if you want to talk about anything related to the Festival of Colour.

What’s on in our region

Ol’ King Cole Jazz Trio
Lake Wanaka Centre
, 89 Ardmore St, Wanaka
Friday 15 June 2018 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Ol’ King Cole brings you the hits of not only the great Nat ‘King’ Cole and his trio, but also many other great tunes of artists during his era. This popular Wellington-based Jazz trio consists of pianist/vocalist Louis Thompson-Munn, Robert ‘Bert Hendo’ Henderson on double bass, and Callum Allardice on guitar. Presented by Wanaka Concert Society in association with Chamber Music New Zealand. Tickets available from Eventfinda.

Smokefree Rockquest Central Otago Final

Lake Wanaka Centre, 89 Ardmore St, Wanaka
Saturday 16 June 2018 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Support our kids in their quest for rock immortality! Smokefreerockquest is New Zealand’s only nationwide, live, original music, youth event and the Central Otago Finals are on this weekend. Eleven Mount Aspiring College bands will be competing: Better than Nothing, Not Yet Rated, Mellifluous, Revival, Iridescence, Stratosfear, dropouts, Easy Riders, Powdered Milk, Theory and By Perfection. You can support by going along to watch, and by texting the name of your favourite band to ‘404’ to vote for them in the Regional People’s Choice award.

Get Dotted
Brought to you by LINK Upper Clutha
Lake Wanaka Centre, 89 Ardmore St, Wanaka

Wednesday June 20 and Thursday June 21 – 6:00pm

If you want to understand the people you work, play, or live with – in particular why they think, feel, and act the way they do… then Get Dotted is for you! A community event about communication and personality styles, this is a fun night out where you’ll learn the science, get practical tips for better communication, and be entertained by the dynamic Amy Scott, as well as enjoy a supper prepared by the Upper Clutha Lions.  Tickets are $30, available from Eventfinda, at Community Networks (73 Brownston Street, cash only), or email info@link.org.nz to organise group bookings.


NZ Mountain Film & Book Festival
Lake Wanaka Centre, 89 Ardmore St, Wanaka, Queenstown Lakes
Friday 29 June 2018 – Wednesday 4 July 2018

The 16th NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival presents a wide range of films, guest speakers, workshops and presentations from inspirational adventurers from within NZ and around the world. The festival is on in Wanaka June 29 to July 4, Cromwell July 4 and Queenstown July 5 to 7. The nine-day event is celebration of adventurous sports and lifestyles presented for adventurers, film and book enthusiasts and armchair adventurers.

Arma Del Amor: Onna Bugeisha Tour
The Rippon Hall, 246 Mt Aspiring Road, Wanaka
Saturday 7 July 2018 –  9:00pm

Wanaka band Arma Del Amor are touring to support their debut album Onna Bugeisha. Locals Martine Harding and Danny Fairley connected over their love of electronic music, and have collaborated to create a sound that resonates from within and that resides on the ambient soul side of electronica. Tickets from Eventfinda.