Accessible tours brought light show up close for everyone
It wasn’t quite dark, but the lights and sights of LUMA 2023 filled the Queenstown Gardens with mystery and excitement.
Two groups from IDEA Services in Invercargill and Gore made the round trip to Queenstown for the show over King’s Birthday Weekend in June and for the first time they were able to get up close to the installations without having to battle crowds.
This year the LUMAbility Southern Light Project offered accessible tours of LUMA outside normal operating times to avoid the crowds and traffic congestion.
Lee Kruskopf, Service Manager for IDEA Services in Invercargill, took a group to LUMA in 2021 and says while the staff had been very helpful in getting them parked near the entrance, those in wheelchairs had struggled to get close enough to the installations and others had difficulty with uneven surfaces and crowds.
Lee provided that feedback to LUMA and became involved in developing the LUMAbility pilot. Accessible tours were run over the weekend from 4pm to 5pm.
“It wasn’t dark, but it was good to see the people we support going around at their own pace and not being pushed around by the crowds,” she says. “By the time we started it was probably dusk. As we moved through, it darkened. There was nothing in the park that was off-limits.”
As they finished the tour, the food vendors were beginning to set up for the evening rush, but the IDEA Services groups had already decided to meet up for a burger on the way home.
Lee says two installations were a hit with the groups – Flight of Fancy by Adventures in Wool NZ collaborators and The Giggle Tree by artist Hannah Walker. Flight of Fancy was a greenhouse with woollen plants and creatures and Lee says everyone loved it and wanted to go home and knit some “creepy, crawlies of their own”.
Tim Buckley, of the Luma Light Festival Charitable Trust, says four groups took advantage of the accessible tours. LUMA has been running since 2015 and this was the first outing for LUMAbility – sponsored by Queenstown Airport. “It was a pilot project. We used it as an opportunity to get as much feedback as possible,” he says. “We have had input from a number of people now and the airport has expressed a wish to take it further.”
Above: The Giggle Tree by artist Hannah Walker was a favourite installation. Photograph by Amy Galloway.