Monday, 18 March 2024

Draft Creativity and Culture Strategy open for consultation

The final strategy will be presented to Full Council to consider endorsing in June.

Wanaka Festivalofcolour Event 2023 Photo Credit Deanna Gerlach

Creativity, culture and heritage play a key role in the Queenstown Lakes District across several aspects of wellbeing including social, community, economic, environmental and individual. 

In February 2023, a steering group formed to support the development of a community-led strategy to enhance, support and celebrate these important aspects of living here.

The resulting Draft Te Rautaki Auahataka me te Ahurea o Queenstown Lakes District | Queenstown Lakes District Creativity and Culture Strategy is now available for public comment. It has been developed through a process of collaboration and partnership with Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), Regional Arts Organisation Three Lakes Cultural Trust (TLCT), Lakes District Museum and Kāi Tahu, and is informed by the collective aspirations of our communities.

“Conversations with creative practitioners, educators, administrators, community groups, businesses, key stakeholders, and our rakatahi / youth have helped reveal the potential that is already here in the district,” said Gizelle Regan, Chair of the Strategy Steering Committee and Chair of Three Lakes Cultural Trust. 

“This ten year vision driven by the community is intended to help create a future where creativity and culture play an ever-increasing and important role in enriching the lives of both the people who live here and those who visit. It also aims to diversify the district’s economy and make it a more attractive place to live, work and set up business,” she said.

QLDC Community Partnerships Manager Marie Day added that by bringing people and organisations with common interests together we can create a future where our cultural identity is widely celebrated and understood. 

“The actions outlined in this Draft Strategy are intended to ensure that the district remains a special place for generations to come,” said Ms Day.

“Development of the Draft Strategy started with community engagement in April-June 2023, with a series of seven community hui held districtwide and an opportunity to provide insights through an engagement survey,” says Samantha Kirk, Head of Three Lakes Cultural Trust.

Building on this early engagement, the Strategy Steering Group are keen to hear from the community on the Draft Creativity and Culture Strategy.

“Make sure your friends and whānau have their say too. The more voices that contribute, the more representative of our place and our people the final strategy will be,” said Mrs Kirk.

The community is invited to join the conversation on creativity, culture and heritage in the Queenstown Lakes District and encouraged to come along to one of three hui taking place across the district in early April, attend a drop-in session or to jump online and take part in the consultation survey.

To read the Draft Strategy and share feedback head to by 19 April. 

Once community feedback is collated and incorporated in the draft, the final strategy will be presented to Full Council to consider endorsing in June.

The Draft Creativity and Culture Strategy is partially funded by the Government’s Better Off Funding which was established as part of the Three Waters Reform process. Central government set aside $500 million (nationwide) in Tranche 1 for councils to use to improve amenity and wellbeing outcomes for residents. This funding provides a huge opportunity for councils to progress and accelerate projects while ensuring minimal impact to ratepayers.


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

For further updates, please go to, on Facebook @tewahitoi, @threelakesculturaltrust, @qldcinfo, or head to

Community hui dates:

Tāhuna Queenstown

Rāapa / Wednesday 3 April, 6.00pm – 8.00pm

Queenstown Events Centre, Frankton.

RSVP here



Rāpare / Thursday 11 April, 6.00pm – 8.00pm


Wānaka Community Hub, McDougall Street

RSVP here


Rāmere / Friday 12 April, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

The Headwaters Eco Lodge

RSVP here

Community drop-in sessions:

Tāhuna Queenstown

Rāmere / Friday 12 April, 11.30am – 1.00pm

Frankton Library, Hawthorne Drive, Frankton 


Rātū / Tuesday 9 April, 10.30am – 12.00pm

Wānaka Library, Dunmore Street

A series of seven hui were hosted in April-June 2023 across the district by Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) and Three Lakes Cultural Trust (TLCT) that gathered valuable input and insights as part of the early engagement phase. Those that joined these sessions were representative of our diverse communities including creative practitioners, educators, administrators, QLDC staff, Councillors, Regional Tourism Offices (RTO’s), Department of Conservation, community groups, businesses and our rakatahi. This in-person engagement was followed by a month-long online survey, where our community was invited to join the conversation. Development of the strategy has also involved ongoing engagement with mana whenua representatives to ensure that Te Ao Māori and Kāi Tahu values are integrated into the approach.

To view the creative illustrations that visual scribe, Rhiannon James, developed to capture conversations at each of the early engagement hui workshops go to

Since the early community engagement there has been a change in the strategy name from Arts, Culture and Heritage to Creativity and Culture. This better reflects how these sectors are interwoven by creativity as opposed to being standalone and unconnected sectors.

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