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Government supports new theatre in Waikato

Ministers’ release: 31 October 2019

The Waikato will soon be home to a world-class 1300-seat theatre, providing more local jobs and a boost for tourism thanks to a $12 million investment from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement during a visit to Hamilton today.

Today’s investment will see:

• The new 1300-seat theatre built on the former Hamilton Hotel site, overlooking Waikato River
• A large stage, orchestra pit, and public foyer
• $12 million from the PGF towards the $73.9 million project
• A private project triggered by this investment – the $32 million Victoria Property Hotel
• 300 jobs in total from both the theatre and hotel construction and operation

“The Government is making good progress on strengthening regional economies through building new infrastructure that boosts regional wellbeing,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Like many locals I have great memories of performances at the Founders Theatre. While it’s sad to have lost this venue, it’s fantastic to see a new plan developed.

“This is an exciting package for the region that will encourage tourism and ensure locals can enjoy the benefits of both home-grown and international cultural performances.

“The theatre will also be a base for Wintec’s performing arts degree, giving students on local training courses a great venue to learn in.

“With a shortage of visitor accommodation, the new hotel means people can stay longer in the Waikato to take in the Hamilton Gardens, Zoo, Waitomo Caves, Hobbiton, and Waiwhakareke National Heritage Park,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Construction of the theatre is expected to begin in early 2020 and take two years.

Funding from the PGF is approved in principle and announced, after which contracts are negotiated. Payments are made once agreed milestones are met. These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.Partner funding has come from Hamilton City Council, Waikato Regional Council, Lotteries NZ, Trust Waikato and private donors.The theatre is a priority project for the region within the Te Waka Regional Economic Development Plan. An independent economic impact assessment showed the theatre alone is expected to produce a $13 million per annum return to the regional economy.


Updated on 31st October 2019