Waikato Regional Theatre build launched, complete with Greek chorus

Waikato Regional Theatre build launched, complete with Greek chorus

The road ahead is finally clear for construction of the $73 million, 1300-seat Waikato Regional Theatre beside the Waikato River in Hamilton’s CBD after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern broke ground on Tuesday in a brief ceremony using the city’s ceremonial ko – a traditional Māori digging tool.

The ceremonial ko named Koko I ara, meaning to clear the pathway, was carved by Inia Te Wiata Jnr on behalf of the hapu of Kirikiriroa and gifted to the council in 2019.

The theatre project has been driven by local community leadership foundation Momentum Waikato with the Waikato Regional Property Trust created to have governance responsibility for the theatre.

Waikato Regional Theatre build launched, complete with Greek chorus

Jacinda Ardern and Momentum Waikato chairman Neil Richardson after the sod-turning. The Prime Minister used the city's ceremonial ko – a traditional Maori digging tool. Photo / Danielle Zollickhofer

Trust chairman Ross Hargood welcomed guests to the sod-turning and acknowledged Leonard Gardner and the original Momentum board for having the vision to keep pushing and overcome the obstacles when Hamilton City Council faced the challenges of having to replace Founders Theatre.

“I imagine that the Prime Minister will recap that the project has been through the whole cycle of traffic lights, green when Momentum won support for the project, orange while we raised funds the occasional red light as we dealt with various bigger issues and Covid and now you are here Prime Minister to give us the green light for the theatre,” Hargood said.

“The new theatre will be at the heart of the city’s creative precinct, this riverside site is close to the Waikato Museum, the Arts Post Building and the Meteor Theatre. It was chosen because it fully realises our community’s well established cultural and economic development aspirations,” he said.

Waikato Regional Theatre build launched, complete with Greek chorus

The entrance to the new theatre will be through a revamped Embassy Park with the city's iconic Riff Raff statue back in place. Image / Supplied

“I can’t wait for opening night, we look forward to seeing you all there, including the Prime Minister.”

The speeches and ceremony went ahead with a background chorus of anti-vaccine mandate protesters standing in the rain, watched by police, outside the gate on Sapper Moore-Jones Place singing and chanting obscenities. In some ways similar to the chorus in a classical Greek play, serving to formulate, express, and comment on the moral issue that is raised by the main dramatic action.

Jacinda Arden acknowledged them in her opening remarks, saying: “I do have some groupies that are following me a little bit. Their singing’s not bad but their chants do need a little bit of work.”

Ardern said she remembered standing on Victoria St to acknowledge the beginning of the theatre project.

“It was at a time when we were thinking of decisions that had to be made about Founders Theatre and everyone was looking for that new place where memories could be built and their legacies could be created; and you have done that and it is such an honour to be here today for this milestone.

Waikato Regional Theatre build launched, complete with Greek chorus

“I am someone who has a lot of memories from Founders Theatre, some good, some bad, I graduated there, I watched many dance recitals from my sister, and those are the memories that help shape places.

“Covid has shown us how crucial it is for that sense of wellbeing, for us to be together, for us to experience the arts, to have an outlet for creativity and here you will have that. So I want to do nothing more than acknowledge that.”

In closing, the Prime Minister also acknowledged Hamilton Labour MPs Gaurav Sharma and Jamie Strange telling guests: “The second reason I am here today is not only for the sod turning but also to mark Jamie Strange and Angela’s 24th wedding anniversary.”

His wife Angela Strange is a Waikato regional councillor and chairs the Regional Connections committee, responsible for public transport within Hamilton and the wider region.

Arden told Jamie: “Every time you come past this building remember you have to bring her here for many a date night, God knows she deserves it.”

Waikato Regional Theatre build launched, complete with Greek chorus

A drawing of how the Victoria Street frontage is likely to appear. Image / JASMAX

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate ackknowledge the bold vision of those who were audacious enough to push for such a world class performance space and that enough people were bold enough to support it

She thanked the private sector, philanthropists, the city council, the regional council and other councils that supported the new regional theatre.

She said it would complement the rejuvenation of the Hamilton CBD. “Just last week we invited the private sector to support the council in project for commercial, retail and residential development on the CBD river front, and the rejuvenation of Embassy Park,” she said.

She pointed out the new river jetty behind the theatre site and referred to the new River Centre planned in nearby Grantham Street , and also shared the council’s vision for a new cycle and walking bridge over the river from the theatre to Hamilton East

Waikato Regional Theatre build launched, complete with Greek chorus

The Hamilton Hotel site on the corner of Sapper Moore-Jones Place and Victoria Street is the site of the new Waikato Regional Theatre. Photo / Danielle Zollickhofer

“I look forward to seeing the new regional theatre arise from this land,” she said

The theatre is due to be opened in early 2024. Momentum has launched a Share the Stage fundraising and community building campaign for the theatre – with “some fun stuff expected in the months ahead”.

As the project coordinator, Momentum invites those interested to head to sharethestage.co.nz and Join the Audience by signing up for updates, invites and information via email as the project progresses. Share the Stage will be the main channel for theatre news.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Covid-19: One new case in Rotorua, one in Atiamuri, speedway and tavern new locations of interest

There is one new case of Covid-19 in Rotorua and one in Atiamuri today. Both cases are linked to previously reported cases. There are 25 cases in New Zealand with ... Read more »

Kihikihi Bowling Club hosts tournament on new greens

Kihikihi Bowling Club were finally able to hold their opening day tournament on Wednesday, January 19 after 10 months of waiting to replace their outdoor carpets. The finishing touches were ... Read more »

The Country - Walking edition

Today on The Country, Jamie Mackay returned from annual leave and tried to regale the nation with travel stories about walking the Routeburn Track – but had his thunder stolen ... Read more »

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: 25 new community cases, 10 people in hospital with the virus

There are 25 new cases of Covid-19 in the community and the Omicron cluster has grown to 19. “Of these [Omicron] cases, today we are reporting eight – two are ... Read more »

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Great Kiwi Beer Festival cancelled, other events in limbo

A number of South Island major events have been officially cancelled or left in limbo after an outbreak of Omicron has forced the country into the red light setting. From ... Read more »

Ukraine crisis: US draws down embassy presence as war fears mount

The State Department on Sunday ordered the families of all American personnel at the US Embassy in Ukraine to leave the country amid heightened fears of a Russian invasion. The ... Read more »

Spicy corn and courgette salad with chicken

Eatwell Quick and easy pickles 4 Nov, 2021 11:03 PMQuick Read Quick and easy pickle recipes Eatwell Vegan recipe collection 31 Oct, 2021 09:15 PMQuick Read A collection of delicious ... Read more »

Tom Hanks Simpsons cameo predicted the future

Some Simpsons fans are claiming the show has made yet another of its eerie predictions about future events. In the past, the long-running animated classic has been credited with predicting ... Read more »

Quick and easy corn and courgette fritters

Eatwell Quick and easy pickles 4 Nov, 2021 11:03 PMQuick Read Quick and easy pickle recipes Eatwell Vegan recipe collection 31 Oct, 2021 09:15 PMQuick Read A collection of delicious ... Read more »

Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: The hottest recipes to make in red light

You swore after the extended 2021 lockdown that you wouldn’t bake again. But here you are, staring longingly into the pantry at that half-used bag of flour wondering what masterpiece ... Read more »

Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Panic buying shoppers snap up stock of Panadol and ibuprofen

Panic buying has seen supplies of Covid medication fly off the shelves from some Auckland supermarkets and pharmacies ahead of the looming Omicron outbreak. At 11.59pm last night the country ... Read more »

Auckland Council may close libraries and swimming pools due to Omicron

Auckland Council may have to close or reduce services at libraries, swimming pools, leisure centres and community venues due to Omicron, council chief executive Jim Stabback says. This would happen ... Read more »

Major Taupō vegetation fire controlled just in time

A fire that ripped through a 500x500m section of Taupō hillside would have been a lot worse if not for fast-acting council staff and emergency services. The large blaze, near ... Read more »

Truck crash in Pyes Pa, power outage after crash in Ōropi

A truck and trailer have crashed into a ditch on Pyes Pa Rd. A police spokeswoman said police were called to the scene between Oropi Gorge Rd and Williams Rd ... Read more »

Covid-19 Omicron: World reacts to New Zealand's Covid crackdown over nine cases

After more than two years of the Covid pandemic, New Zealand has once again imposed strict restrictions over a just a handful of cases, and it has the rest of ... Read more »

Parris Goebel's Voice of Youth show at Expo 2020 Dubai

Directed by Parris Goebel, the Voice of Youth show features young New Zealand talent aged 16 to 18 handpicked by Parris and her team. Video / Expo 2020 Dubai Read more »

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Today's case numbers, has variant spread further?

The country is waiting to discover if Omicron has spread further in the community, including whether there are fresh infections from a wedding attended by a Motueka family and fears ... Read more »

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: New high risk locations of interest in Auckland

New locations of interest have been announced by health officials as being connected to people who have the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Latest update The Tarka Indian Eatery in Auckland’s ... Read more »

Focus: Supermarket shelves empty post traffic light announcement

Supermarket shelves empty post traffic light announcement. Video / NZ Herlad Read more »

Covid-19 Omicron: Today's case numbers, is Omicron spreading?

The country is waiting to learn if any more people who attended large gatherings in Auckland a week ago have contracted Omicron and if any other towns across the North ... Read more »

Covid-19: Keep Delta levels low to prevent double epidemic with Omicron - epidemiologist

New Zealand’s plan to slow the spread of Omicron is sensible and should help to reduce the peak of the outbreak, says an epidemiologist based in Australia. The country has ... Read more »

Covid-19 Omicron: Businesses respond to red alert, many workers told to stay home

Many businesses have told their staff to work from home after New Zealand moved back into the red Covid setting while others are giving people a choice. While some large ... Read more »

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Warbirds Over Wanaka cancelled for second time

Warbirds Over Wanaka has been cancelled for the second time after an outbreak of Omicron in the community plunged the country into the red light setting. The international airshow, which ... Read more »

Teens attempt to pull elderly woman from car in Whangārei

Police have appealed for witnesses to come forward after a group of teens attempted to pull an elderly woman from her car in Whangārei. Police were called to King St ... Read more »

Power outage after crash in Ōropi

A crash in Ōropi has caused a power outage this morning. A police spokeswoman said a car had crashed into a power pole on Oropi Rd around 10.30am. Police are ... Read more »

Covid 19 Omicron: Expect large numbers - Chris Hipkins

People should do everything they can against Omicron, but it’s likely large numbers will be infected, the Covid-19 Response Minister says. Speaking to Morning Report today, Chris Hipkins said masks, ... Read more »

Focus: Search for Omicron source continues

As the hunt to find the source of a community outbreak of the Covid Omicron variant continues, authorities say there could be “tens of thousands” of community daily cases in ... Read more »

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Two new high risk locations of interest, including suspected link to Omicron

Two new locations of interest – including an Auckland restaurant – have been linked to fresh Covid cases in the community. Latest update – Tarka Indian Eatery, Mission Bay, Auckland. ... Read more »

Australian Open 2022: Tennis Australia destroyed over Peng Shuai T-shirt scandal

Australian Open organisers have been slammed for their handling of a situation that saw spectators ordered to remove items asking “where is Peng Shuai?” Tennis Australia (TA) stood by what ... Read more »

Covid-19 Omicron: Two new high risk locations of interest, including suspected link to Omicron

Two new locations of interest – including in Auckland – have been linked to fresh Covid cases in the community. Latest update – Tarka Indian Eatery, Mission Bay, Auckland. Fri, ... Read more »

Professor Carolyn King's 50-year battle against stoats

She loves weasels but was brought to New Zealand 50 years ago to help eradicate both weasels and stoats. Now, Emeritus Professor Carolyn King, while supporting the goal of a ... Read more »

Dog owner posts $25k reward after pets were stolen from central Auckland home

A dog daycare owner has offered a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the safe return of two treasured pooches who were stolen from her Auckland home. Pets and ... Read more »

The Pan-American Highway: The longest walk in the world

If you love a good long walk, New Zealand isn’t a bad spot to live or travel. Our 10 Great Walks attract roamers and ramblers from around the world. At ... Read more »

Police officer allegedly assaulted during Rotorua mass brawl

A police officer has been allegedly assaulted during a mass fight on a Rotorua street. A police spokeswoman said police were called to reports of disorder on Eason St around ... Read more »

Wind flares up month-old slash fires in Ruapehu

Fires lit in early December to burn forestry slash have flared up again in the Waiouru-Ohakune area, spurred by easterly winds and hot dry conditions. Firefighters spent the weekend battling ... Read more »

Covid-19 Australia: Concession card Rat rollout commences amid stock shortage, struggling pharmacies

More than six million Australians are now eligible for free rapid antigen tests, but pharmacies are pleading for patience as stock levels remain low. The scheme will allow 6.6 million ... Read more »

In my kitchen with... with chef Carl Maunder of State Bistro and State Pasta

Renowned chef Carl Maunder is executive chef, and co-owner, along with his wife Jade Lucas, of New Plymouth eateries State Bistro and State Pasta. The former celebrates all that was ... Read more »

Chef Carl Maunder: Middle Eastern-inspired lamb shoulder with fennel rice pilaf

This recipe is inspired by my time in the Middle East, travelling and working with people from across South Asia who used a lot of different spices in their cooking, ... Read more »

Covid 19 Omicron: Aucklanders react to going back to 'red' traffic light setting

Aucklanders are relatively relaxed about the country moving to the red setting after the prime minister confirmed the highly infectious Omicron variant was circulating in the city. With the sheer ... Read more »

Meat Loaf death: Weber apologises for ill-timed grilled meatloaf recipe

Weber picked the wrong day to suggest grilling meatloaf. The outdoor grill maker has apologised to customers for sending a recipe-of-the-week email earlier on the day of Meat Loaf’s death ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic