The countdown is on: Queenstown set to shine bright at LUMA

March 31, 2018 9:28 am

With less than ten weeks until Queenstown’s award-winning light festival illuminates the night sky, the countdown is officially on.

The LUMA Southern Light Project returns to Queenstown on Queen’s Birthday Weekend (June 1 – 4 2018) featuring a world light festival ‘first’ four evenings of illuminated art, light sculptures and entertainment. Over 35,000 people braved the cold last year to go on a sensory journey through the iconic Queenstown Gardens and buzzing lakefront. The free public event focuses on the transformation of space, public interaction, art, culture and education, made possible by curated collections of stunning light sculptures and thought-provoking installations. Visitors can expect to be dazzled by an array of interactive and unique light displays, each one designed to encourage them to engage with the art and the surrounding Queenstown landscape.

Set within the picturesque Queenstown Gardens and waterfront, visitors can explore the illuminated winter wonderland with hot food in hand warming their fingers, as the art captivates their minds. The ‘world festival first’ will see local and international artists collaborating on an instillation using over 90,000 individual light sources to turn trees in the Queenstown Gardens into an enchanted forest. Auckland artist Angus Muir is returning to LUMA as the principle light installation artist and is excited about the collaboration.

“We’re going to create a pretty amazing, almost 3D volume, of light within the forest. We’ll be able to control the direction it moves, and create shapes within it, producing an amazing geometric work within an organic environment.”

Muir’s work will feature alongside creative art luminaries Jon Baxter, Puck Murphy and Nocturnal – Projection Mapping specialists, amongst many other local and national artists. Trust chairman Duncan Forsyth says enhancing and promoting the creative and cultural heart of Queenstown is at the core of everything LUMA represents. “LUMA 2018 promises to be the most innovative, immersive and interactive experience yet,” he says.

“It’s set to be a thought-provoking experience for all ages and we’re delighted to bring the community together once again for our third installment of the festival.“There really is something invigorating about connecting strangers on a dark and wintery evening through forms of light and music. The festival is run by a group of dedicated young Queenstown professionals who donate thousands of hours of their time to bringing the ‘life’ of the community back into the town centre. Their goal? To shine bright, opening an enlightening conversation and improving the creative landscape in Queenstown. Duncan says the event is only possible thanks to the loyal support of business partners and volunteers.

“We’ve been so grateful for the event partners that contribute, through cash or cash in kind, to help cover our huge overheads in transporting artwork, creating installations, and projection set-ups,” says Duncan. They allow us to turn on the lights! Thanks for helping us, help you, to brighten up the future of our resort town.”

LUMA Southern Light Project, and the LUMA Light Festival Trust are very proudly supported by local government event funding and partners from all over Queenstown and Otago.

Call for Submissions

September 13, 2017 8:18 pm

LUMA Southern Light Project is an annual light festival which will take place from June 1st to 4th 2018 in the Queenstown Gardens, the Queenstown waterfront, and specific locations throughout the CBD.

We have identified several significant sites within the festival which we would like to invite artists to engage with. These sites are pivotal elements of the LUMA experience and this represents a unique opportunity to collaborate and bring diversity to this rapidly expanding event.



Experience LUMA 2017 Southern Light Project

September 5, 2017 7:44 pm

Join the LUMA vloggers as they experience the LUMA 2017 light festival, taking in all the art, illumination and sculpture.

Huge thank you to the volunteers who made this video possible!

Produced by Dale Wowk and Jonny James
Directed by Jonny James
Cinematography by Dale Wowk, Jonny James, Ash Poval and Te Rina Rora Adams.
Edited by Dale Wowk
Motion Graphics by Guillem Mora Gri
Featuring Lucas Bacon, Te Rina Rora Adams, Emily King and Brandon Cashion.
Music by Otis McDonald

Coming to LUMA? Stay at Staysouth

May 23, 2017 12:24 am

LUMA is the first event to kick off the Winter Festival season, and we can’t think of a better or brighter way to do it! Staysouth and LUMA have joined forces to offer a 10% discount to all LUMA visitors looking to stay in any of the Staysouth managed properties for the 2 weeks surrounding the event. Be sure to read the full blog post on to capture this one time deal, and on our deals page.

Check out the full blog post on

Local artist creates iconic art for festival

May 16, 2017 11:28 am

Local artist and entrepreneur Tom Lynch is back to connect strangers in the dark through light and music at the 2017 LUMA festival.

At last year’s LUMA, the founder of TomTom productions created ‘‘Cõnsequentia’, an illuminated forest which many visitors said was their favourite installation. “I love the forest as a space to play around with art and light.” Tom says, “I wanted to light it up and create something interactive that brings people together.”

Tom used state-of-the-art sensors to track people’s hands, so as they moved, the entire forest would light up in response. “The whole point was with every movement you made there was a consequence. Both kids and adults loved it.”

Tom has been planning this year’s installation for 12 months. Whilst the final details remain a surprise, he explains it will be another interactive artwork within the forest.

“I want to create a ceiling of illuminated rope across the forest, connected to microphones and possibly a piano. When people speak or play music, there will be a light reaction across the entire forest.”

“The idea is to encourage strangers, across the space of a dark forest, to come together and create a few beautiful moments of music, art and light that can never happen again.”

Tom became involved with LUMA in 2016, when his friend asked TomTom Productions to help with the lighting and installation of the show. “I love being able to use my business’s technology for art and create something that has lots of cleverness behind the scenes but looks effortless on the outside. LUMA is exactly what Queenstown needed and I wanted to support that, this town has the best natural canvas in the world.”
Tom’s piece is just one of over 20 installations from local and international artists which will be lighting up Queenstown at LUMA 2017.

Keen to get involved? Become a LUMAteer! If you’d like to help out Queenstown’s brightest festival, get in touch.

Queenstown Gardens celebrates 150th anniversary at LUMA

April 30, 2017 10:04 am

The Friends of the Gardens have decided to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Queenstown Gardens at LUMA Southern Light Project, held on 2nd – 5th June 2017.

The group, who have been guardians of the gardens for decades, have partnered with LUMA to create a time-travelling light show projected upon the iconic band rotunda. The special art installation will feature historical photos, stories and video footage from the archives of the Lakes District Museum, as well as private contributors.

Jay Castells, Chairman of Friends of the Gardens, says they’re very excited to be showcasing the gardens’ history at the festival. “It’s a great project that will help culturally enrich the town and raise an appreciation of the gardens.” Castells says, “Queenstown Gardens have a fascinating and important story which should be shared.”

“We’d love for anyone who has photos or stories of the gardens to get in touch, as we’re putting together a historical archive in conjunction with the Lakes District Museum.”

The piece, with some never-seen-before footage, is supported by the council, the Queenstown creative market trust and CLASS CLT, with some funding from private patrons.

As well as this stunning art installation in the rotunda, the local schools have also got involved in commemorating the gardens. Nearly 150 students from Wakatipu High School, Queenstown and Remarkables Primary Schools have created an artwork featuring 150 hand-crafted flowers, which will be ‘planted’ with visual and lighting effect in the garden beds during the LUMA festival.
Mrs Rebecca Lund, Technology Teacher at Wakatipu High School, said they were delighted to be involved in the event. “The kids have loved it.” She says, “They are super excited to be showing their artwork to not just the community, but thousands of visitors too.” As well as the flowers installation, the students have also created ‘Lumanite Grotto’, a series of papier-mache figures with lightbulb heads, and have made ceramic sculptures, which will also be on display throughout the LUMA festival.

LUMA Southern Light Project to light up Queenstown

March 16, 2017 6:06 pm

Want to know a little more about this years event? Check out the March 2017 press release!

On June 2nd – 5th 2017, Queenstown will be illuminated with art and sculpture for the second LUMA light festival.

Over 10,000 locals and visitors from all over the world attended LUMA last year, which transformed Queenstown’s famous Gardens and lakefront into a dazzling display of glowing art.

Scooping up the 2016 Trust Power Award for Arts and Culture in its first year, the free festival is back to showcase a collection of stunning light sculptures and installations from New Zealand and international artists.

The event was created by five locals who wanted to celebrate the creative community through light, art, technology and design. They founded the LUMA non-profit trust, and launched a pilot project of light installations at the 2015 Winter Festival. Unlike anything Queenstown had seen before, it was the first step towards the southern region’s first ever light festival.

“LUMA is about celebrating darkness with light.” LUMA Trust Chairman Duncan Forsyth says, “it’s now one of several fantastic events in June that welcome the start of winter, and we believe it goes hand in hand with the Queenstown Winter Festival.”

Igniting when the sun goes down, the four-day festival will kick off during the Queen’s Birthday Weekend at 5pm-10pm each evening. There will also be a special exhibition to celebrate Queenstown Gardens’ 150th Anniversary, but the full programme and participating artists won’t be announced until May.

LUMA is a community event. People from all over Queenstown get involved, from schools, businesses and community groups, the local community is helping to make LUMA one of the town’s brightest events of the year.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in June!