Marilyn Waring and Chlöe Swarbrick’s ‘New Kids on the Block’ session will open the 2020 Aspiring Conversations festival of ideas.

Tickets for the 2020 Aspiring Conversations are on sale now!

We have tickets available for all sessions at the 2020 Aspiring Conversations, so now is the time to join the conversation and grab yourself some seats for Wanaka’s very own festival of ideas.

‘New Kids on the Block’, featuring Marilyn Waring and Chlöe Swarbrick, will open the festival, discussing the struggles and the successes of two political careers that shook the system. Eleven speaker sessions will cover a diversity of subjects, including fake news, taxation, peeling back the map of Wānaka and our region, and Shihad frontman Jon Toogood discussing being a Muslim in New Zealand. Four singer-songwriters will also explore blues music and its impact in Aotearoa.

New for 2020 is the ‘Streetside Soapbox – Big Issues, Short Talks’ with a line-up of quickfire soapbox talks and slam poets on the pavement in central Wanaka.

Have you got a topic you would like to present? Get in touch with GM Laura Williamson on

Aspiring Conversations takes place at the Lake Wanaka Centre from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 April.

There are three ways to buy tickets to our festival of ideas:

Online: Visit and click on the ‘BOOK TICKETS’ button.

In person: Come and see our friendly box office staff at Lake Wanaka Centre tomorrow, Saturday February 15 from 10am to 2pm.

By telephone: Call 022 4 TIX NOW (022 4 849 669).

Don’t delay, some sessions are selling quickly!

TOP TIP: The Aspiring Pass gives you access to every session except Saturday night’s ‘Singing the Blues’. Buy your pass online HERE to enjoy a whole weekend of food for thought.

Dr Ranjana Srivastava and Glenn Colquhoun will take a look at how we approach mortality in our ‘Death Becomes Us’ session.

A healthy read

GP and poet Glenn Colquhoun features in our ‘Death Becomes Us’ session at this year’s Aspiring Conversations. In a recent essay for The Spinoff, he argues that the solution to our health system woes lies with the voices of patients.


Sponsors’ corner

Allenby Farms Ltd

Allenby Farms Ltd is delighted to be given the opportunity to sponsor the 2020 Aspiring Conversations. Allenby Farms Ltd is a locally based farming and property development company proudly supporting the Upper Clutha Community for the past 50 years. Wishing the 2020 Aspiring Conversations every success.

Arts in our region

Mayhem! Ultimate Kids’ Show (suitable for children aged 5 – 14) @ 4pm
Cheeky, Quirky and Classy – Ultimate Family Friendly Show (suitable for children  aged 8+ and their parents) @ 7:30pm

Thursday March 5
Lake Hawea Community Centre, Lake Hawea

The Lake Hawea Community Centre presents two shows on March 5 featuring International Comedy Magician Brendan Dooley. Both are suitable for families and children, and combine a unique blend of non-traditional magic, stunts, original comedy and cheeky pick-pocketing. Recently, Brendan was the recipient of NZ’s Top Comedy Magician Award, the youngest ever to receive it. All tickets $10 at the 4pm show, 7.30pm show is $25 adults and $10 children. Book: Hawea Store & Kitchen, OCD Cafe at Wanaka Medical Centre and door sales.