Kai-boshed: The day the music died

Music outside Wanaka's Kai Whakapai. Photo: Supplied

Kai Whakapai has been told it must stop hosting live music outside its premises with immediate effect.

The cafe and bar, based in Ardmore Street, has been hosting early evening live music for several years in Busker's Square, next to its outdoor drinking area. However, it has now been told by Queenstown Lakes District Council that its license does not cover live music and that it must stop immediately, despite no noise complaints being received.

The issue was raised by a council member, as yet unnamed, at a meeting and the outdoor musicians have already played their last gig. Owner Roger North said he disagreed with the decision.

“We are the furthest building from residential dwellings, we do it once a week, we stop at 8:30pm and the duty manager is in charge of the noise. It’s a shame that we are being penalised for something that is part of the social fabric of Wanaka,” he said.

As a result, Roger said there are now fears for local charities as many of the music nights benefit good causes, often as much as $1000 a time. Previous beneficiaries have included Coastguard, Frisbee Golf and Wanaka Football Club.

“Much as we do music once a week, at least one in four are charity fundraisers where the entire profits are donated to charity. Those charities will have their fundraising cut off. It is a kick in the teeth for the community.”

Aspiring Avalanche Dogs (AAD) is another charity that benefits from the live music evenings and dog handler Matt Gunn said it was bad news for the organisation.

“We really rely on the two fundraising evenings we have held at Kai for the last six years. We get more people down because of the music, so for us it was a huge blow to our earning potential. I don’t see why the council has a problem.”

Explaining the decision, council spokesperson Rebecca Pitts said, “There hasn’t been any significant noise complaints. However, Kai Whakapai are in the process of having their alcohol license reviewed.

As part of this, they were reminded that the rules relating to busking permits had changed slightly and were direct to the council website to check they were up to speed.”

Although there are still steps he can take to remedy the situation, Roger said he was not confident of getting the music turned back on.

“We are being supported by people in the council to help us reach a sensible conclusion. I’m not convinced it will help. I don’t have much hope,” he said.

 - By Rob White / Wanaka Sun. Email: journalist@thewanakasun.co.nz

Pictured: Music outside Wanaka's Kai Whakapai. Photo: Supplied

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