Queentown event space 'vital'
Queenstown's proposed convention centre will become a magnet for cultural experiences the resort misses out on, Sir Michael Hill says.
Sir Michael said Queenstown was a major New Zealand destination point, which showed off the best of the country, but ''desperately needed'' a major performance venue so that cultural experiences could be added to the resort's pulling power.
''The lack of any performance venue should have been addressed years ago, because it would totally open up many new aspects to the performances we would have on offer,'' he said.
Besides running New Zealand's largest jewellery company and owning The Hills, Sir Michael is patron of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition.
While the first rounds of the annual competition are usually held in Queenstown, the second round is usually held in Auckland because violinists have to perform with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra - and there's no suitable performance space in Queenstown.
Michael Hill International Violin Competition executive director Anne Rodda, speaking from her Auckland base, said there was a strong possibility the competition would solely take place in Queenstown if an appropriate concert hall was incorporated into the convention centre.
''We're already at capacity in terms of audience numbers in the Queenstown rounds of the competition. If a convention centre main hall was built with a high ceiling and appropriate acoustics, and with enough space for a symphony orchestra to fit on the main stage, it would be fantastic and allow us to host the whole competition here.
''Queenstown has a huge international draw and has a major point of difference to, say Auckland, and we would be looking to exploit that in the nicest possible way.''
The audience the competition attracted was wealthy and well-travelled.
''Forty-three per cent of our audience for the Queenstown rounds of the competition come from outside Queenstown. These are the type of people who stay four or five days in a luxury lodge and spend a lot of money while they're here, and that number will only increase if we get a quality concert hall.''
Public submissions on the proposed centre close on Saturday.
A public hearing of submissions is scheduled for next week.
- The Mirror