Mayfair Arts and Culture Kaikoura


80 Esplanade, Kaikōura 7300

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The Mayfair Theatre, designed by W Melville Lawry of Christchurch, was built in 1934. Colin Ford and his wife owned and operated the theatre for many years.

In 1970 Kaikōura High School leased the business as a school fundraiser and it was purchased for $13,000 on behalf of the community. When the school relinquished the lease in 1983 the Kaikōura Community Theatre
Inc. (KCT) was formed.

The Mayfair Theatre moves to digital with $120,000 raised by the community for the new projector, sound system and screen. The theatre became increasingly popular as a centre for community entertainment, including “Live at The Mayfair” which showcased local talent.

The November 2016 earthquake damaged the building to such an extent that it must be completely rebuilt. The digital projector purchased in 2013 survives the earthquake.

A feasibility Study funded by The Lottery Board established a viable plan to preserve the original Art Deco façade of the building and to create an eco- friendly, future proofed Arts and Culture Centre.

With the old building demolished, the iconic façade preserved, and the new design finalised fundraising begins to make the ambitious vision a reality. Major funders pledge their support; including the Lottery Board, Southern Trust and the Kaikōura Op Shop Trust and combined with the numerous individual donations enough funds are raised to begin construction of the new building.

Despite construction being paused during March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the building and fit-out is completed on-time. The Mayfair Arts and Culture Centre – Te Whare Toi ō Kaikōura is officially opened.

Successfully delivering a quality arts, theatre and cinema experience so that the Kaikōura community and its visitors can be entertained, educated and inspired.