We’re excited to announce we’re launching a Wanaka novel just before the opening session of Aspiring Conversations!

Come down to Lake Wanaka Centre on Friday April 3 from 4:30pm to hear about Damien Wilkins’ new young adult novel, Aspiring.

Damien will be on hand to talk about the book and to sign copies at the Paper Plus pop-up bookshop. All welcome.

Set in the fictional town of ‘Aspiring’, the novel tells the story of fifteen-year-old Ricky who, like the place he lives in, is growing at an alarming rate. He’s 6’7” and getting taller every day. But he’s stuck in a loop: student, uncommitted basketballer, and puzzled son, burdened by his family’s sadness. And who’s the weird guy in town with a chauffeur and half a Cadillac? Uncertain what’s real, Ricky can’t stop sifting for clues.

Local readers will find a lot they recognise in the book. ‘Aspiring’ is, in all but name, Wanaka, so a local launch couldn’t be more appropriate.

Damien Wilkins won New Zealand Book Award for fiction in 1994 for his book The Miserables and currently teaches PhD students at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters.

As well as launching his novel at Aspiring Conversations, Damien will be visiting two English classes at Mount Aspiring College.

Read more about Damien’s “tall tale” in this article from Your Weekend in The Press: Aspiring to great heights: Damien Wilkins’ tall tale

The details:

Aspiring Book Launch
Armstrong Room, Lake Wanaka Centre
Friday April 3 – doors open 4:30pm


Wanaka Arts and Culture Community Voice Meeting

The Three Lakes Cultural Trust is inviting the Wanaka and Hawea communities to participate in a second round of Community Voice meetings.

Attendees can learn how their personal opinions and experiences have shaped the draft Cultural Masterplan. There will also be an opportunity to view and provide feedback on the newly released plan.

An online version of the Strategic Summary and full AEA Draft Cultural Plan being presented at the Community Voice Session can be found here.

Have your say on the Cultural Masterplan: Wednesday, March 18, at Lake Wanaka Centre, 6 to 8pm

Sponsors’ corner

A word from Ray White Wanaka

Ray White Wanaka are not only proud supporters of Aspiring Conversations and the Festival of Colour, but passionate festivalgoers looking forward to soaking up and enjoying some inspiring conversations and wonderful celebration of the arts.

We hope everyone enjoys as much as we have in prior years. www.wanakarealestate.co.nz

Love arts and ideas? Get behind us!

Our Patron and Benefactor supporters are a crucial part of our funding mix – ticket sales only covered 28% of our costs for the 2018 Aspiring Conversations.

The rest of our expenses are paid for through the support of grantmakers, sponsors and private supporters like you!

It’s easy to renew, or join, as a Patron or Benefactor of the Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust online here on our website.

Or you can:

  • direct deposit your donation into our Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust account with your name as a reference
  • post or drop off a cheque to the festival office: PO Box 630, Wanaka, 9343
  • get directly in touch with General Manager Laura Williamson on laura@festivalofcolour.co.nz, or on 443 4172.

On in our region

Wanaka A&P Show
Wanaka Showgrounds
Friday 13 March – Saturday 14 March

The Wanaka Show is back for 2020 with a jam-packed entertainment line-up plus captivating displays, events and more than 500 food and trade stalls from all around New Zealand. This year’s acts include children’s entertainer and Dancing With The Stars favourite Suzy Cato, the NZ Army Band and singing sisters Jenny and Nicola Mitchell.

Sherwood, 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown
Tuesday 31 March @ 7:30pm

Leni is five years old, holding a Superman costume for her first day at school. Eurydice is five years into the rest of her life, with a bee tattoo on her wrist. A story about making changes, taking leaps, and being a daily superhero. Best Theatre Award WINNER – Adelaide Fringe, 2019, from the creators of international award-winning ORPHEUS (Best in Fringe WINNER – Dunedin Fringe, 2019). Tickets from EVENTFINDA.