LUMAbility lets everyone enjoy 'brilliant' event

May 29, 2024

A Queenstown Airport initiative to ensure everyone could enjoy LUMA 2023 was such a success it is being repeated this King’s Birthday Weekend.

LUMAbility guided tours are tailored to the particular needs of each group and operate outside normal hours, so guests can experience the illuminated artworks, sculptures, and musical installations at Queenstown Gardens without having to navigate crowds and traffic congestion.

“The concept is to create an environment that is welcoming and accessible to all, and to overcome challenges that might otherwise make it difficult for people to attend this popular community event,” Queenstown Airport’s partnership and marketing manager Vanessa Hartnell says.

The festival can feel overwhelming and be difficult to navigate for some - but they shouldn't miss out (Image: Supplied).

The airport has supported LUMA since 2019, but reviewed its sponsorship last year to ensure it delivered maximum impact for the people of the region.

"Welcoming, inclusive, and accessible are key principles when we are considering airport infrastructure and creating our development plans, so it made sense to extend our knowledge and support in this space into the community."

LUMAbility was created as a pilot project, working with groups such as the Pivotal Point Charitable Trust, MINT Charitable Trust, Living Options, IDEA Services, Wakatipu Senior Citizens Association, Alzheimer's Otago, and Hato Hone St John to include those with diverse needs.

The tours were led by Sunny Sky, of Epic Living, who says they are all about connection.

"This is a really cool way for people to come to LUMA who may otherwise be limited. On a sensory level, it can be quite overwhelming, but our small groups and tailored progamme make it more intimate."

The feedback was both moving and unreservedly positive.

National accessibility consultant Be.Lab reviewed the programme for the airport, which then committed to supporting it for at least two more years.

Ms Sky is again coordinating LUMAbility and has put her experience as an arts therapist to good use, holding creative workshops for this year's guests as a build-up to LUMA.

"They're all excited to see their fabulous creations on the tour, and excited to be involved to this extent."

The five-day festival opens on Thursday, 30 May, and LUMA spokesman Tim Buckley is feverishly counting down.

"We're excited to be working with Queenstown Airport to establish accessibility as another cornerstone of how LUMA is delivered for our community. We want to ensure as many people as possible can experience it."

Learn more about LUMA and LUMAbility here.

Main image (Supplied): Queenstown Gardens transformed after dark - and accessible for all who want to experience it.

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