Dunedin Town Hall (sic) and Dunedin Centre reopen this week

“The entire complex is now known as the Dunedin Centre.”

● Dunedin Town Hall will always be known as Dunedin Town Hall, not a flower by another name !!!!

● Godsakes, ditch DVML as the venue operator !!!!

UPDATE 24.4.13 – Major stuff up. DVML mismanages Town Hall seating plan for Anzac Day Revue. Those with prebooked seats will be treated as general admission. ODT

Related Post:
7.3.13 Town Hall, Dunedin Centre, Municipal Chambers #linked

Dunedin City Council
Media Release

Busy Times Ahead for Revamped Dunedin Centre

This item was published on 22 Apr 2013.

The doors don’t open to the public until Thursday, but the redeveloped Dunedin Centre has already got bookings through until May 2015.

Some large events are already booked, including national and international conferences such as the Ingenium Conference and the 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress. There are also concert bookings by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music New Zealand and the Southern Sinfonia, as well as bookings for school formals, graduations, weddings and private functions.

Invited guests will join Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull in a low-key civic ceremony on Wednesday morning to celebrate the Dunedin Centre’s new lease of life. The first performance will be the Dunedin RSA Choir performance in the Town Hall on Anzac Day.

Mr Cull says, “The Dunedin Centre complex is very much an events centrepiece for our city and it’s great to see there are a number of bookings already.”

About $45 million has been spent over several years upgrading and renovating the existing Dunedin Centre/Town Hall and Municipal Chambers (work on the latter was completed in August 2011). The entire complex is now known as the Dunedin Centre.

Key elements of the overall upgrade include linkages between all buildings to enable people to move easily within what is now an integrated convention centre. There will be lift access to all Dunedin Centre and Town Hall floors, including the Town Hall ceiling, as well as major technology upgrades, new kitchen facilities, new conference/function spaces and new toilets. Another key feature of the redevelopment is a raft of sophisticated behind-the-scenes improvements, which mean the buildings now meet regulations in areas such as fire protection, health and safety, ventilation and access.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Concerts, Construction, DCC, Design, DVML, Economics, Events, Fun, Heritage, Inspiration, NZHPT, Project management, Property, Site, Urban design

41 responses to “Dunedin Town Hall (sic) and Dunedin Centre reopen this week

  1. It looks to me as though DVML is being paid to manage the Town Hall/Dunedin Centre, and also gets to keep all the revenue. I would like to know how much this revenue is expected to be. Is this another substantial subsidy for the Stadium?

  2. Anonymous

    DVML was always going to be the consolidated venue operator. If they can ever figure it out, Edgar Centre will also come under the umbrella.

  3. Yep! DVML has the rights to manage all of the Town Hall/Conference Centre, Edgar Centre and the Stadium. It will become one confusing medley of loss making avenues. Problem is, it will be the classic three peas under the walnut shells trick, we will never be privy to what revenue came from where and what losses were offset by what. In a word, ‘who’s up who, and who hasn’t paid?’

    • Got a call from Regent Theatre today. A friend and I had booked best (acoustic) seats for the Town Hall performance of the Dunedin RSA Choir on Anzac Day – to check out the sound in the refurbished chamber. Regent said the Town Hall isn’t finished yet and therefore we’ll have to just turn up and take our luck with seats!

      FAR OUT

      • Darren Burden and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML)

        ### ODT Online Wed, 24 Apr 2013
        Seating mix-up affects Anzac revue
        By John Lewis
        The first public concert in the Dunedin Town Hall in nearly three years, may be overshadowed by a mix-up in seating arrangements. Ticketing agent, Regent Theatre general manager Sarah Anderson, said pre-paid tickets to the RSA Choir’s Anzac Day Revue concert tomorrow night would not match the seating in the newly refurbished Dunedin Town Hall, because the seats sold were based on a seating plan which was based on the construction plan. Unfortunately, the construction plan was not the same as what was built, she said.
        Read more

        • ### ch9.co.nz April 24, 2013 – 6:59pm
          Dunedin Town Hall open for business
          It has cost Dunedin ratepayers more than $40 million – but the jewels in the crown of the city’s heritage are now open for business. A civic ceremony at the newly renovated town hall marked the end of three years work. It also marked the beginning of connections that criss-cross the city of Dunedin.

        • Photos (pity about the quality) of the refurbished interior taken today – note the dark panelling has gone [!!???]. Jury is out about the curtains. Red carpet sections (for better or worse, stylistically…) provide a navigation path through the complex – you can now walk through the buildings from The Octagon (Municipal Chambers) to Moray Place.

          Image source: http://www.facebook.com/SouthernSinfoniaNZ

          [ photo album http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151553524594730.1073741832.57044769729&type=3 ]


        • Dunedin Town Hall before refurbishment, with dark panelling, window blinds, and old theatre seating (via Google Images).

          1Town Hall (dunedinvenues.co.nz)2Town Hall (architecturalecology.co.nz)3Town Hall DCC building control officer (odt.co.nz).jpd4Town Hall Sukhi Turner addresses meeting (odt.co.nz)5Town Hall (odt.co.nz)

          1 dunedinvenues.co.nz | 2 architecturalecology.co.nz | 3-5 odt.co.nz

  4. Phil

    All that happens/will happen is that DVML relocates all events to the stadium. It is only the stadium income which gets reported separately, not any of the other venues who all get dumped in together. Edgar Centre is subsidised by DCC, and that subsidy can now get used to disguise stadium losses. It’s also a way through which DCC can give more money to the stadium without attracting attention. Much like the Delta back door.

  5. Mike

    The explanation in the ODT today – that DVML screwed up and didn’t pass out the new seat layout (due to larger seats) to booking agents – makes a lot of sense – never attribute malice when incompetence will do

    But don’t worry it’s not DVML’s fault, they seem to be blaming the people who built it because, um, they did what they were told rather than what had been written on the plans (OK I don’t really understand the explanation except for the bit about it being someone else’s screw up)

    about now we’ll see a quick note about lower expected Town Hall revenue because with these new wider seats the number of people the Town hall can now accommodate is 1/3 less (my math) and no one bothered to run the financials …..

  6. Anonymous

    So what was the projected capacity of the Town Hall?
    And what is the capacity now?
    And when did the “management” become aware of the difference.

    It won’t/can’t make any impact on the financials. Those are already a work of fiction.

  7. It’s a beautiful Town Hall no doubt, and was certainly in need of a tart up. Well done. But it is the rest that gives me the shivers. An International Conference Centre ‘par excellence’ as Dave Cull enthuses. It is the conferences that worry me. In the Horwath Report on which the decision was made to go for it is predicated on from 2015 onwards there would be not less than 36 conferences per year. This compares with the biggest number in 2008 at 16. Even if this target is met, the revenue over operating expenditure shows a (deficit of $644,878) before loan repayments. These additional costs take the annual deficit to ($4.341m). And that was based on a cost of some $45m. We know it cost more than that including the capitalised interest over the build. I suspect the final wash up will be north of $55m plus. I also suspect it will be another case of ‘oohs and aahs’ all round, just like the stadium, until it dawns on them that they have created another ‘sinker’ for the city. Watch for the conferences to tell the story.

    • I’m guessing best practice conservation methodologies (in which parts of the complex conservation was required, as opposed to adaptive reuse and redevelopment…) got overridden by some people thinking they were expert project managers in the ‘application’.

      Does that sound politik enough.

      That’s not in reply to your thoughts, Calvin – which I respect given the horror and gangrene of council debt.

  8. Phil

    Yes, the concert chambers and back rooms were really rather sad. Nice to see them back to a presentable standard again. Of course a freshly painted hall isn’t going to justify the additional expenses of flying people in from the major cities for all the extra conferences. Nor, I suspect, was the previous state a major factor in why the conferences didn’t come. Like the stadium, they will need a direct financial subsidy if they are to come. On the plus side, we now have a nice concert hall that we ALL can enjoy. And that’s nice.

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    Must say I regret the decision to lose the dark panelling, it’s an old building after all and it looks a bit pick’n’mix now. Somewhat “mutton dressed as lamb” in overall style, judging by the photos. I hope it looks better in real life. I’m OK with the carpet, beats getting lost and taking up the time of staff because they can’t find their way from hither to yon. Anyway carpets are temporary in high-use areas.

    • The Sinfonia’s shots are blighted by wizzbang uncomplimentary light washes (pink!). OK, so we got a new lighting system and a new rigging truss. How are the acoustics, we wonder.

      Pic 3 (old views) shows ‘Mark’ from DCC Building Control in the Gods.
      Pic 4 Mayor Sukhi Turner addresses the audience, wearing full-length Otago plaid.

  10. Phil

    Hopefully those timber panels didn’t play a part in the acoustic quality of the concert chamber. Those early designers were pretty clever in that respect. My understanding is that the Town Hall is one of the best examples in the world of a theatre hall constructed specifically for acoustics. The tapered shape and gently curved dampening surfaces help to guide sound in an organised fashion. As opposed to a certain unnamed recently built monstrosity which handles sound like a game of BullRush.

    • As briefed before redevelopment started, ‘was’ in the top three acoustic spaces in Australasia.

      Yes, I worry too given the panels and all other little changes, will they be incrementally ‘reductive’…. a little bit scary that. Thus attendance to hear the male choir, soloists, Kaikorai Metropolitan Brass, and the crowd sing-alongs later today! Let’s hope it works, or else.

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    Ooohhhhhhhhh dear. A great dread has come upon me, that these subtleties of acoustic design have fallen victim to decoritis. Fingers, legs and eyes crossed that it be not so.

  12. Peter

    Without a doubt the Town Hall complex is a great building with impressive accoustics, but I always wonder about claims it is the best in the world, the best in the southern hemisphere, the envy of other cities around the world… or whatever. I can’t say, one way or another, as I’m sure is the case for the vast majority of people. It kind of sounds like small town/city boasting and hyperbole so we can say we ‘punch above our weight’. Much the same claims are made about the stadium.

  13. Peter; what about the ‘steepest street’ in the world? Nothing beats that!

  14. There were 150 invited guests at the ‘low key’ opening function. I guess my invitation got lost in the mail. Damn that Post Office.

  15. Peter

    Calvin. I forgot about that one!
    I understand Malcolm Farry got an invitation to this event. Ironic given that he was, I understand, annoyed when the councillors of the time voted for this project, among others, because he could see the problems of competition for funding for his beloved stadium. (He needn’t have worried as it turns out.They liked spending.)
    Also it goes to show he is still lurking around the traps, no doubt ready for some new ideas of his ‘to put Dunedin on the map’. A case for declaring him persona non grata?
    My commiserations, Calvin, at the snub you had to endure by not being invited. Very churlish of DVML. No doubt you will attend one of the plethora of conferences to be held there.

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    Calvin, did you forget to leave a bottle of beer out for the postie last Christmas?

  17. Hype; You’re right! I didn’t leave a bottle of beer for the postie. That’ll be why I didn’t get my invite. Do you think I should ring Dave Cull and explain and apologise for not being there?

  18. Hype O'Thermia

    Calvin, that’s the least you can do. A jar of nice home-made jam wouldn’t go amiss either, you know how he appreciated “gifts” (think “Toitu”).

    • Hell rip down and harvest some kina.

      I note we the tiny Hands off Harrop Inc organising committee, who with massive public and professional support derailed the glass atrium, and strongly lobbied to set the course for building within the existing footprint (with which councillors came to agree), were absent from the invitations list, too. Bah!

  19. Probably some ginseng, ginger and bamboo shoots would be in order. I understand Dave Cull is accustomed to that sort of food. I think he may have had some recently though, so on second thoughts I’ll give it the miss.

    • Town Hall performed perfectly tonight for the Anzac Day Revue. Everyone on stage contributed to a great programme!

      Special Mentions:
      ● Martin Setchell, International Concert Organist did brilliant work with Norma tonight – the highlight was Toccata from Symphony No 5 in F – Charles-Marie Widor.
      ● The RSA Choir with Organist Martin Setchell and the Kaikorai Metropolitan Brass pulled off Finlandia (“Be Still My Soul”), music J Sebelius, in tall form. Magic.

      Note: Fancy hearing Norma this weekend ?? This is for you:

      Norma Awakes – Organ Concert

      ‘Norma Awakes’; first organ concert in reopened Town Hall

      Sunday 28 April, 3pm

      Organ concert given by David Burchell, City Organist.

      Programme includes:
      Mendelssohn Sonata 6
      Rossini William Tell Overture
      Organ Symphony in C by John Wells (composed for the opening of the new Auckland Town Hall organ in 2010)

      Admission $10, door sales only: no eftpos.

      Presented by the Dunedin Town Hall Organ Trust.

      • ### 3news.co.nz Thu, 25 Apr 2013 6:32p.m.
        Dunedin Town Hall reopens after upgrade
        By Dave Goosselink
        Dunedin’s Town Hall facility has reopened after almost three years of upgrades and refurbishments. The local RSA choir will have the honour of being the first group to perform at the newly renovated hall, which spokesperson David More says will be a treat. “The acoustics here have always been brilliant,” he says. “Hopefully they haven’t been altered, and it sounds like they’re just as good.” The upgrade was first considered by the council in 2000. Since then, the project has grown in scale and cost from an initial $15 million proposal to the final bill of $44 million. Dunedin city property manager Robert Clark says infrastructure at the neighbouring Glenroy Auditorium has also been upgraded, along with the historic municipal chambers.
        Read more + Video

        • At ODT Online:

          Town Hall interior refurbishment
          Submitted by ej kerr on Fri, 26/04/2013 – 3:09am.

          The Anzac Day Revue was the ultimate test – without a doubt, the Town Hall retains its excellent acoustic properties; and Norma is in great heart, expertly demonstrated by Martin Setchell, international concert organist, the guest soloist.

          I don’t know why, or who decided to paint the dark timber panelling – conservationally, I find it peculiar and wouldn’t have dared attempt it.

          The paint application is contrary to the original architect’s vision for the space. The feeling of enclosure and encirclement the dark panelling brought to concert experience is diminished, along with architectural overtures to Norma and her three-dimensional presence in the hall.

          The overall effect of the paintwork is ‘plastic’ and ‘out-of-period’ (too new) compared to the original 1929 interior styling.

          Seen against other surface finishes, furniture, architectural details, and lighting effects in the chamber, the painted panelling doesn’t jar so much as resemble a blue made by an inexpert interior designer – echoed by the poorly hanging and oddly-coloured cloth curtains at the large windows in the side walls.

          This aside, it’s exciting to see the Town Hall back in public use, refreshed and up to code!

          As a founding member of Hands off Harrop, I will say that our committee and the thorough-going public support we received for our cause – seeing off the proposed glass atrium, keeping the Town Hall redevelopment within the existing footprint, and linking the historic buildings – has paid off rather handsomely in terms of the endowed architecture and enhanced civic amenity.

        • ### ch9.co.nz April 26, 2013 – 9:58pm
          Town Hall reverberates to RSA Choir
          The newly refurbished Dunedin Town Hall reverberated with the sound of the RSA Choir last night, resplendent in their new military red uniform.

        • ### ODT Online Sat, 27 Apr 2013
          Centre of the city
          After nearly three years of work to bring it up to international convention and performance centre standards, the Dunedin Centre, comprising the now-linked Dunedin Town Hall, Glenroy Auditorium and Municipal Chambers, is back open for business. The Dunedin City Council has to date (the final wash-up is yet to be done) spent $43 million on the redevelopment of the centre, which Mayor Dave Cull has called ”an events centrepiece for our city”. While many of the improvements are not visible to the eye, changes in lighting, air-conditioning, structures, service access and amenities are promised to provide an overall better experience and attract top level conferences and performers to the city.
          Earlier this week the Otago Daily Times had one of the first looks at what ratepayers are getting for their money. Photos by Gerard O’Brien.
          ODT Link (see images)

  20. Hype O'Thermia

    You’re so right – “the painted panelling doesn’t jar so much as resemble a blue made by an inexpert interior designer”. I wonder if they managed to coat the panelling with something that will allow easy strip-back when the lapse in appropriate taste comes to property management’s attention.

  21. Mayor Dave Cull has called the Dunedin Centre “an events centrepiece for our city”. Excellent! That makes it about seven events centres we now have, not counting the University’s facilities, plus the numerous private ones. We truly are blessed. Roll on the events, I say.

  22. Elizabeth

    Dunedin’s Municipal Chambers is getting a spruce-up.

    ### ODT Online Sun, 3 May 2015
    No damaged stone left unturned
    By Chris Morris
    Scaffolding has gone up on the outside of part of the 134-year-old building, as workers from Dooleys Masonry in Oamaru begin work on the roof. Dunedin City Council city property asset manager John Varney said worn features on parts of the building’s Oamaru stone balustrades were being replaced.
    Read more

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