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Monday, 28 August 2023

Next steps for Project Manawa on the agenda

Councillors will be asked to approve public consultation on proposed next steps to enable Project Manawa.


On Thursday, Queenstown Lakes District Councillors will be asked to approve public consultation on proposed next steps to enable Project Manawa; a long-term vision for community and cultural facilities in the heart of Tāhuna Queenstown.   

Project Manawa, if fully realised, could deliver a range of facilities on the large central Queenstown Stanley Street site. Over time these could include community and arts spaces, a purpose-built library, a performing and visual arts centre, a town square, commercial buildings and improved opportunities for public transport, along with a civic administration building.  

QLDC Mayor Glyn Lewers said, the Stanley Street site has long been a topic of conversation locally and several key decisions have led us to this point.  

“In 2017 this site was identified in the Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan as the preferred location of a community heart with a variety of cultural facilities to benefit the whole district alongside new Council offices. Then in June 2019, Councillors approved a proposal to enter into a Partnering Agreement with Ngāi Tahu Property to agree a development plan for the site,” he said. 

“In mid-2022, the Three Lakes Cultural Trust, with Council’s assistance, opened Te Atamira; a community arts and culture hub in Frankton for a wide range of groups, including the tenants of the Queenstown Arts Centre and Performing Arts Trust buildings, who were seeking new premises following the expiry of their leases.”  

“Around the same time, formal consultation to remove the Queenstown Arts Centre building from Council’s schedule of assets was completed, followed by an expression of interest process to relocate the building.  As a result of this, the building is expected to be relocated to Country Lane in Frankton for community use towards the end of this year,” he said.   

“This is a significant, long-term opportunity to take further steps towards creating a place that celebrates and connects our culture, heritage and community to showcase it to our domestic and international visitors,” he said.  

“Councillors are now being asked for approval to continue the conversation.  However, it’s important for me to note at this stage, the only decision on the table is to consider making options available for future Councils to consolidate the land required for the Manawa development, and testing feedback on the use of the joint venture model to develop the future civic administration building through a new Council Controlled organisation (CCO),” he said.  

“Getting community feedback on these aspects will help shape the next steps and any decision to implement the project in the future will still require Council decision making,” he said.  

QLDC Strategic Project Manager Paul Speedy said the current status of the land within the site means it’s difficult to achieve the best outcome for the community. 

“Changes to the underlying land interests are proposed to provide the foundation and options for Council to progress with the first stages of the project,” he said. 

“Two land strategy options have been proposed, requiring land exchanges and changes to the status of land parcels within the site.  The intention is twofold:  firstly, to create an arts and cultural precinct on QLDC administered reserve land; secondly to create future freehold land development opportunities, including the development of an administration building, surrounding the precinct,” Mr Speedy said. 

A second key move to enable Project Manawa involves further consideration of an opportunity to jointly develop the civic administration building with Ngāi Tahu Property.  

“While the terms of any joint venture arrangements for delivery of this building have not been agreed, Council’s feasibility work assumes it could be jointly owned and developed by QLDC and Ngāi Tahu Property on a 50/50 basis, requiring the creation of a Council Controlled Organisation,” Mr Speedy said. 

“The creation of a CCO requires public consultation under the Local Government Act 2002, so if Councillors approve the statement of proposal on Thursday, we’ll seek public submissions on a proposed joint venture and governance arrangement. However, it’s really important to note any further decision making would be subject to the outcomes of the consultation, detailed negotiations with Ngāi Tahu Property on the terms and finally, a Council resolution. 

“This proposal, if it proceeds, would unlock opportunities on the site to develop other community facilities, public spaces and commercial buildings over the longer term, in an integrated way that would not be possible as a development led only by Council,” he said.   

The statement of proposal describes the proposed options, along with advantages and disadvantages of each, and seeks submissions from the community to guide future decision making on the project.  

If approved, consultation is expected to start in October.  


Media contact: or call 03 441 1802. 


Links to full Council report and attachments:

Link to Project Manawa project webpage: