Thursday, 27 June 2024

A community-led Strategy to guide creativity, culture and heritage in Queenstown Lakes

The Creativity, Culture and Heritage Strategy for the district was unanimously endorsed at today's Full Council Meeting.

Wanaka Festivalofcolour Event 2023 Photo Credit Deanna Gerlach

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), Regional Arts Organisation Three Lakes Cultural Trust (TLCT) and the Lakes District Museum are thrilled to announce the unanimous endorsement of Te Muka Toi, Te Muka Tākata, a community-led Creativity, Culture and Heritage Strategy for the district at the 27 June full Council meeting.

The Strategy is underpinned by five foundations and five strategic priorities. These identify actions and opportunities to deliver the Strategy through a ten-year implementation plan. This plan will act as a road map to be collectively owned and delivered, with ongoing leadership from all three organisations.

QLDC Community Partnerships Manager Marie Day said the Strategy presents a huge opportunity to drive activity and investment, and realise the full potential of creativity, culture and heritage in the Queenstown Lakes District.

“I’m confident that this work will be a platform for positive change in the way we work together to nurture creativity, culture and heritage. This milestone honours decades of work by many local practitioners in this field and marks a significant step forward in celebrating the district's vibrant arts, cultural and heritage scene,” said Ms Day.

TLCT Chair and Strategy Steering Committee Chair Gizelle Regan said Te Muka Toi, Te Muka Tākata will guide collective efforts and help realise their full potential.

“Te Muka Toi, Te Muka Tākata signifies the unbreakable thread connecting creativity and humanity. Creativity, culture and heritage belong to all of us, and this Strategy reflects the many histories, traditions, and unique stories that weave together to create who we are as a community,” said Ms Regan.

"It will also help us focus resources in the right areas, bring people and organisations together, increase capability and protect our taoka, ensuring that creativity, culture, and heritage help our place and our communities to thrive."

Mayor Glyn Lewers reflected on the mahi that has gone into creating this Strategy from across the community.

“This Strategy has been built with enthusiasm and passion from the people that live here, and recognises decades of work by many, largely volunteers, in our community whose contributions have laid the foundation for the district to champion culture, creativity and heritage,” said Mayor Lewers.

“It also acknowledges the diversity of groups that are active in the areas of arts, culture and heritage, and that as a community we need to work together,” he said.

TLCT Operating Officer Samantha Kirk highlighted how our local practitioners carry a significant load.

“They take risks and bring ideas to life that we all enjoy. However, they are often under-recognised, underpaid, and under-supported. This Strategy seeks to change that, providing greater support to practitioners as torchbearers for creativity, culture, and heritage in our district,” said Mrs Kirk.

“We’ll be celebrating this work through our social media channels across the month of July, so keep an eye out for more to come!”

The development of Te Muka Toi, Te Muka Takata spanned 17 months and included robust engagement with 150 organisations with many more individuals included in the process, from practitioners, educators, administrators, QLDC staff, community groups, businesses, students, and a diverse cross-section of our communities.

To read the Te Muka Toi, Te Muka Tākata l Creativity, Culture and Heritage Strategy, Implementation Plan and ‘Strategy on a page’ summary head to


Media contact: or call 03 441 1802.

For further information, please contact:

Samantha Kirk, Three Lakes Cultural Trust

M: 021 279 4884

FURTHER INFORMATION | Kā pāroko tāpiri

  • Te Muka Toi, Te Muka Tākata l The Creativity, Culture and Heritage Strategy for the Queenstown Lakes District is partially funded by the Government’s Better Off Funding which was established as part of the Three Waters Reform process.  Central government has set aside $2 billion (nationwide) for councils to use to improve amenity and outcomes for residents. This funding provides a huge opportunity for councils to progress and accelerate projects while ensuring minimal impact to ratepayers.

  • Image: Wānaka Festival of Colour, photo by Deanna Gerlach.