Te Atamira turns 2

3 minutes read
Posted 21 May, 2024
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L to R: Michelle Somers, Katie Boles de Boer, Claire Stewart, Erica Hastie, Olivia Egerton and Becky Reid

Queenstown’s multi-purpose community, arts and cultural space celebrated their second birthday on 15 May. The milestone was celebrated in the best way possible – with coffee and cake– as Te Atamira continues to organise amazing programmes for the region.

Director at Te Atamira, Olivia Egerton, has enjoyed seeing the space grow and develop over the two years. She says time has just flown by and couldn’t believe it’s been two years already. The initial idea came about when Three Lakes Cultural Trust created a cultural masterplan that included an app and cultural hub. As the idea gained traction, there was a handful of people championing the campaign to turn the space into a reality.

“We were born out of Covid – the silver lining of the horrible event – and in these last few years have become a vital heartbeat of Queenstown Lakes,” Egerton says. “I think a big part of that has been because the community created this with several different partners. After decades of waiting and feedback, we’ve been able to create a place that celebrates not only pathways for people to be able to actively relax or participate in weekly classes in the 22 separate spaces, but we’ve also enabled presentation in those same spaces. It gives people who may have had to travel in the past an opportunity to see high-quality New Zealand art. Having space dedicated for arts and culture has also meant that there’s a lot of opportunities for community groups to innovate their own programming and classes and put new things on.”

The charitable trust welcomes on average 2,300 people weekly to take part in creative pursuits. In addition to providing several itinerant music teachers with a permanent base, there’s a range of groups that weren’t previously able to hold classes due to a lack of space. As a result, the space has seen some new budding creatives come through; one such example is two young boys who have been learning pottery over the last 12 months and during the school holidays were able to put on an exhibition in the foyer of the work they’ve created in the past year.

“Being able to celebrate young people very publicly was amazing for the school holiday programme kids to see, seeing kids their age putting on an exhibition. It’s an awesome opportunity to be able to have a space where you can do that.”

As part of the birthday celebrations, Te Atamira launched a “Te Atamira is…” project, where the team are asking the community to share what Te Atamira means to them. It will continue to run for several weeks, and everyone is welcome to come by and write what the space means to them. They’ve also just closed their call for proposals and Egerton says they’ve received some amazing proposals come through for different creative projects over the next twelve months.

“We’ve become a real hub for the community where people engage and connect, and enjoy high-quality art experiences,” Egerton says.

They’ll be hosting the Te Atamira Folk Ball on Saturday, where everyone is asked to put on their dancing shoes and enjoy an evening with renowned choreographer Michael Parmenter and Dunedin dance aficionado Kate Grace – you’ll be guided through the dance steps, blending centuries-old European traditions with a modern flair.

One of the upcoming exhibitions is Te Whare Pora: House of Learning, which it curated by the legendary Awhina Tamarapa. It will provide a rare opportunity to see a collection of unique kākahu (cloaks) made by internationally recognised Māori weaver Rokahurihia Ngarimu-Cameron MNZM, along with hand-made taonga puoro (musical instruments) from Roka’s collection. There’s also a curator talk on Saturday 8 June with Dr Awhina Tamarapa, which has free entry.

Te Atamira is a not-for-profit trust that aims to bring arts and culture programmes to the community for affordable prices – they’re also currently fundraising for a new outdoor community space. To stay up-to-date and to help support head to teatamira.nz

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