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About the project

'Manawa' is te reo Māori for 'heart'. It's QLDC's vision that there is a cultural and civic heart for the wider district located in central Tāhuna Queenstown. Located on Stanley Street in the Queenstown CBD, the goals of Project Manawa are to deliver a range of cultural and community facilities such as a community and arts spaces, a new dedicated library, a performance and visual arts centre, a town square, and commercial buildings, as well as the Council's new administration building.

The Stanley Street site has long been a topic of conversation in our community.  In 2017 it was identified in the Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan as the preferred location of a community heart with new Council offices and a variety of cultural facilities to benefit the whole district. 

Following that, in June 2019, Councillors approved a proposal to enter into a Partnering Agreement with Ngāi Tahu Property to agree a development plan for the Stanley Street site.

During 2021, the Three Lakes Cultural Trust, with Council’s assistance, secured a lease of premises in Frankton to develop a community arts and culture hub (with a ten-year horizon).   Known as Te Atamira, the facilities will provide a significantly improved space for a wide range of groups, including the existing tenants of the Queenstown Arts Centre and Queenstown Performing Arts Trust buildings, whose leases end in mid-to-late May 2022.   The Te Atamira facility will be hosting its first exhibition in May 2022.  

Partnership with Kāi Tahu

In June 2019, the Councillors approved a proposal to enter into a Partnering Agreement with Ngāi Tahu Property. The aim of this partnership is to agree a development plan for the Stanley Street site to deliver an integrated development of community assets and commercial buildings - what we now know as Manawa. This agreement enables us to work together and develop the site to the benefit of the district's communities and further enhance the district's position as Aotearoa New Zealand's premier domestic and international visitor destination. 

Partnership Purpose | Hoaketanga

To act together, mā te mahi ngātahi, and establish a thriving community heart precinct,
whakapuāwai hapori kāenga, on the Stanley Street site in central Queenstown, Tāhuna

What's the latest?

Community consultation on foundational steps to enable the development occurred over November and December 2023.  In April 2024, Council resolved to complete various land exchanges to preserve and optimise the future potential for the Manawa site. The process for the land exchange includes seeking ministerial approval and public notification.   

The specific resolution states: 

1. Note the contents of this report and the deliberations report and recommendations of the Hearing Panel.

2. Direct the Chief Executive to undertake a new assessment of options, including sites outside the Queenstown CBD, for the location and ownership of the proposed Civic Administration Building, and report back to the Council on the following:

a. An update of financial and non-financial information upon which the Stanley Street site was identified as the preferred site for a one office solution, for comparison with similar information for alternative sites, including but not limited to assessing the main themes arising from the consultation, use of the public and active travel networks, costs of building on flat sites vs inclined, and any other relevant criteria;

b. An update of the QLDC workplace travel plan for the Stanley Street site and alternative sites;

c. A review of the governance structure and funding options for building a Civic Administration Building on the Stanley Street site and alternative sites;

d. A proposal for subsequent consultation with the community on these matters;

3. Adopt Option 1 under Topic 1 – Land Exchange within the Project Manawa Statement of Proposal [refer pp 13 – 18 Project Manawa Statement of Proposal], namely the proposal to stop part of Ballarat Street and exchanging the freehold land created by stopping that road, with the reserve land to the east of the site, and exchanging freehold land from Robertson Street (or elsewhere) with the reserve land on the Stanley Street site [refer p 16 Project Manawa Statement of Proposal];

4. Direct the Chief Executive to report back to the Council with a scope of works programme for:

a. obtaining Ministerial approval for the stopping of Ballarat Street under the Public Works Act 1981; and

b. notifying the exchange of reserve land under the Reserves Act 1977 to achieve the proposed land exchanges;

5. Agree not to proceed with negotiating a joint venture partnership with Ngāi Tahu Property Limited (Topic 2) for the purpose of owning land jointly and/or owning, constructing and administering a new Civic Administration Building at this time, and any future ownership and/or governance arrangements with Ngāi Tahu Property Limited will be subject to the Chief Executive’s review of the proposed Civic Administration Building location and ownership, and further consideration and approval by the Council; and

6. Direct the Chief Executive to report to the Council regarding the options to provide the maximum number of public carparks at the Stanley Street site for the medium term.

We’ll update on next steps in due course. 


While we’re still in the very early stages of this long-term project, here’s a rundown of what’s happened so far:


Project Connect - a combined office

Project Connect is the name for the planned single office space for Queenstown-Wakatipu which will enable all Queenstown-based staff to be housed under one roof rather than the four town centre locations. Project Connect will form part of the Project Manawa development and will:

  • streamline services for the community;
  • improve efficiencies between QLDC departments who are currently based across Queenstown;
  • align with QLDC's aim to ensure the town centre remains vibrant and authentic; 
  • keep local people in the town centre by maintaining the presence of civic and community buildings;
  • indirectly support a range of other centrally-operated businesses and professionals.