Junction observant award winner 2016 - matakana cinemas
They opened nearly ten years ago under the initial creative vision of Richard and Christine Didsbury, and have since become known far and wide as truly individual independent cinemas which have gone the extra mile in many ways. The cinemas are now owned and operated by their son-in-law, Dan Paine.
Innovative interior design (including those ceilings), arthouse programming and exceptional community events make going to the movies in Matakana a treat which is never taken for granted by its fans. The management is generous in its support of the community and employs a fair number of local teenagers on an ongoing basis.
Dennis and Judy Keith have been involved in the cinemas from the beginning and Dennis (who’s been involved in cinemas since his projectionist apprenticeship at the St James at the age of 15) remembers the first few weeks. “It was pretty crazy – a whole container of seats went missing the week before we opened. We had to go ahead with gaps. Richard said ‘Don’t worry, everyone will understand.’ And they did.”
A few years down the track they’d lowered the massive chandelier in the Tivoli cinema to change all the light bulbs when, to everyone’s horror, it wouldn’t winch back up. “The mechanism was broken,” says Dennis. “It closed the cinema for about three days while we got it fixed.”
Richard and Christine Didsbury had this to say: “With the proliferation of home theatres, it was crucial that we could offer a memorable cinema experience, and so the stunning décor, supremely comfortable seating, top of the line sound systems and big screen viewing, together with the ability to enjoy a great glass of local wine, was all part of enriching that cinema experience.
“In addition, the generous foyer space with its fireplace, funky furnishings and the long white cloud lighting was designed to become a community hub. It has evolved into a gathering space for locals and visitors, community events, knitting groups and the local information centre. We really appreciate the community support that has resulted in an award like this.”