Aspiring Conversations has run as a popular part of the Festival of Colour since 2009, and in 2014 it branched out into its own stand-alone festival in the main Festival off year. This gives us a year-round presence and has been well supported by our key stakeholders and audiences.

In 2016 we achieved 130% box office budget and ran at 84% capacity. We ran a weekend of speaker sessions with top quality national and international speakers which took us into a wide range of topics with real thought, warmth and candour. There were almost 3,000 tickets sold across the weekend and our audience surveys gave us a ranking for the weekend of 9 out of 10, and the programme as 8.7 out of 10.

We aim to inspire, motivate and feed the minds and hearts of both locals and visitors, through a series of talks and conversations with high profile speakers tackling issues of real importance and relevance to our audiences.

“Excellent speakers, great topics, good variety, well organised, beautiful location, nice venue.”

“Setting my mind alight with new ideas”

“A superb range of thinkers and speakers brought in to challenge and delight us”

“The speakers were of high calibre, and the well-organised agenda of topics was relevant for us in Wanaka as were the deeper world issues.”

The Festival of Colour and Aspiring Conversations are organised by the Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust, registered Charitable Trust CC27353.

For a copy of the Trusts latest annual report  to 30 June 2017, click here. For a copy of the report from the 2016 Aspiring Conversations click here.

The Festival Team

Prue Wallis (Patron)
The late Fiona Rowley (Patron Settlor)


Alistair King (Chair)
Jo McGregor (Deputy Chair)
Sir Eion Edgar
Fiona McPhee
Mike Toepfer
Hetty Van Hale
Mark Verbiest
Annabel Wilson 

Trust Advisors

John Beattie (Strategic)
Lloyd S. Davis (Education)
Wayne Findlay (Treasurer)
Dennis Schwarz (Technical) 


Philip Tremewan – Festival Director
Laura Williamson – General Manager
Anna McConville – Event Manager
Katy Macpherson – Ticketing Manager