Movies in Waitemata parks

July 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

With the Governing Body’s Annual Plan announcement last week a few initiatives didn’t make the cut. One of those initiatives was movies in the park. I’m sure like many of you reading this article your are sad to see them go from our parks. This event programme over summer is one of the most community minded activities that residents in Waitemata enjoy. Hundreds of people from all across the neighbourhood come to join in the fun of King Kong walking through Grey Lynn Park or King of Kong in Silo Park.

As the shared events portfolio holder with Shale Chambers I have been tightening our events meetings over the last month to get down to business with a fixed agenda with fixed agenda items. Only achievable now that the corporate restructuring has started to settle down.

But there is a real story to be told about the movement of the council events budget and the sad demise of the movies in the park budget.

The events budget, under the old Auckland Council was held by a localised events team, and it was for the time being transferred to the CCO Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) during transition. As the restructuring took place ATEED decided to reshape the movies in the park. They changes a timely local tradition and created a regionalised programme. There were movies in the parks in all corners of the Auckland Region for the first time. And I’m sure that Councillors and Local Board members in these wards would have thought this was a bit of a bonus from transition.

Even until today the Waitemata Local Board has not been able to recoup the events budgets of yesteryear’s, with much of the localised events budget being swallowed by ATEEDs Rugby World Cup opening night and now other governing body initiatives.

Contestable annual events fund

Our board for Waitemata made a conscious decision to fund events by establishing a contestable events fund of $100k. This has allowed the board to continue to fund large local events like Grey Lynn Festival, Art in the Dark, Parnell Festival of Roses, and a new one this year “Wag’n Walk” (our first event as a corporate sponsor achieving positive community outcomes).

This month I indicated to our events team that I want the board to build our localised events program. We have music in the parks each season in the Auckland Domain which provides a fixture of events in a single location. The turnout to these events are outstanding. However, for the western part of our ward from Grey Lynn to Hern Bay there is no fixture of events apart from the Grey Lynn festival, now that the two movies in the park events have been axed. Indicatively I have suggested that the events team put forward a recommended fixture of movie events in Grey Lynn Park along with a youth event in the intercity. Of course the board will need to weigh the events up against any other event in our contestable fund and can look at sponsorship to make the event more sustainable in the long-term.

In the summer of 1999, as the Chair of the Auckland City Youth Council I raised $23,000 through eight community boards, one charitable trust and a road safety trust to hold 9 youth concerts across parks in the Auckland isthmus. This was on the ground swell of many youth bands that were unable to play in bars or clubs due to the drinking age being 21. The largest concert we held was in Myers Park with over 2,500 people in attendance along the grassy banks. These concerts ran on the smell of an oily rag, with an amazing Anne Wentworth the events manager naively offering her services to coordinate the events if I got the money. Little did she know of my persuasive skills. But impressed she managed to wrangle Fur Patrol along. As a result of the event the Auckland City Council granted $10k to the Youth Council the following year.

Auckland has had a history of providing youth events, like dancing in the street in Beresford Square or Fleet Street Festival on Fleet Street. With the establishment of a Youth Advisory group in Waitemata working alongside Jesse Chambers our youths portfolio holder we could look at this opportunity.


2 Comments on "Movies in Waitemata parks"

  1. Lindsay Waugh on Fri, 27th Jul 2012 6:51 am 

    As Chair of Kaipatiki Local Board I share your views regarding the demise of the very ppopular movies in parks.These events were fabulous and generated a real sense of local community. Unfortunately ATEED decided to approach this as a Regional event to provide better value through scale, reduce the number of sessions and “add value” with music, all with out any reference to local knowledge. The new way was tested during an awful summer and the results of the review showed a poor ” bang for buck” Outcome = cancellation.

    If these events were considered regional by ATEED but are now to be given back to local boards to fund individually what happened to the Boards share of this events budget? Maybe we should work together to reinstate this event on either side of the bridge.

  2. Rob Thomas on Wed, 1st Aug 2012 9:36 am 

    Hi Lindsay,
    I’ve just sent you an email and cc’d our events manager.
    I would love to work in partnership with you and your board to deliver this for our communities.
    Rob Thomas

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